Do acute dissociation reactions predict subsequent posttraumatic stress and growth? A prospective experience sampling method study

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While peritraumatic dissociation has been identified as a predictor of posttraumatic stress disorder, it may also have some protective aspect. The study uses experience sampling methods to assess acute dissociation reactions during conflict, and to investigate these reactions as predictors of subsequent posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) and posttraumatic growth (PTG). During the 2014 Israel-Gaza conflict, Israeli civilians (n = 96) exposed to rocket fire gave twice-daily experience sampling method (ESM) reports of dissociation symptoms for 30 days via mobile phone. PTSS and PTG were assessed two months later. A mixed effects random intercepts and slopes model estimated acute dissociation reactions. Individual slope coefficients for acute dissociative reactivity were entered as predictors of subsequent PTSS and PTG in regression analyses investigating linear and curvilinear associations. Exposure to sirens elicited acute dissociation reactions. Dissociative reactivity gradually reduced over the conflict. Higher acute dissociative reactivity during conflict predicted PTSS in a curvilinear manner (inverted U) and PTG in a positive linear manner two months later. The current study provides an important and novel contribution to the field by using ESM methods to assess peritraumatic dissociation, and in demonstrating that peritraumatic dissociation may be both adaptive and maladaptive, which has implications for risk assessment and clinical practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Anxiety Disorders
StatePublished - Jun 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by The Brain and Behavior Research Foundation [Narsad Young Investigator Award, grant number 23524 ], the Israel Science Foundation [grant number 1244/16 ], The Moshe Hess Foundation ; and NATAL : Israel Trauma Center for Victims of Terror and War .

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Elsevier Ltd


  • Ambulatory assessment
  • Conflict
  • Ecological momentary assessment
  • PTSD
  • Peritraumatic dissociation
  • Posttraumatic growth
  • Traumatic stress
  • War

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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