Low predictive power of peritraumatic dissociation for PTSD symptoms in accident survivors



To test the predictive power of peritraumatic dissociation for the development of psychopathology, the authors assessed symptoms of peritraumatic dissociation (Peritraumatic Dissociative Experiences Questionnaire; PDEQ), posttraumatic stress disorder (Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale; CAPS), anxiety and depression (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale; HADS) in a sample of 214 accident victims 5 days postaccident (T1). Six months later (T2), CAPS and HADS were administered again. Acute stress disorder (ASD) and PTSD symptom levels were surprisingly low. In sequential regression analyses, initial reexperiencing and hyperarousal significantly predicted PTSD symptom level (T2) over several possibly confounding variables controlled for. Peritraumatic dissociation explained less than 3% of variance. For PTSD scores, 38% overall variance explanation was obtained; the variance for HADS scores was low. Possible explanations for the low-predictive power of peritraumatic dissociation for posttraumatic psychopathology in the sample are discussed.