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Abstract

Recent research has investigated peritraumatic and persistent dissociation as a possible predictive factor for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The current study aimed to add to this literature by examining dissociative responses in female assault survivors (N = 92 at initial assessment; n = 62 at follow-up). Dissociative symptoms experienced at 3 time points were assessed: peritraumatic dissociation (PD), persistent dissociation–initial (M = 28.2 days posttrauma) and follow-up (M = 224.9 days posttrauma), as well as initial and follow-up PTSD symptoms. We hypothesized that PD and persistent dissociative symptoms would predict chronic PTSD symptoms at the follow-up assessment with initial PTSD symptoms and assault type in the model. Hierarchical regression resulted in a significant model predicting 39% of the variance in follow-up PTSD symptom scores (p < .001). Both peritraumatic and follow-up persistent dissociative symptoms significantly and uniquely added to the variance explained in follow-up PTSD symptom score contributing 4% (p = .05) and 8% (p = .008) of the variance, respectively. Results support the predictive value of peritraumatic and persistent dissociative symptoms, and the findings suggest that persistent dissociation may contribute to the development and continuation of PTSD symptoms. We discuss the implications for assessment and possible treatment of PTSD as well as future directions.