Spontaneous and Deliberate Dissociative States in Military Personnel: Are Such States Helpful?


  • Charles A. Morgan III,

    1. Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut, USA
    2. National Center for PTSD, VA Connecticut Healthcare Systems, West Haven, Connecticut, USA
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  • Marcus K. Taylor

    Corresponding author
    1. Behavioral Sciences Laboratory, Behavioral Sciences and Epidemiology Department, Naval Health Research Center, San Diego, California, USA
    • Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut, USA
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  • This study was supported by a grant from the National Center for PTSD. Appreciation is extended to Michelle LeWark and Deborah L. Taylor for editorial expertise.

  • The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Navy, Department of Defense, nor the U.S. Government. Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited. This research has been conducted in compliance with all applicable federal regulations governing the protection of human subjects in research at Yale University School of Medicine and National Center for PTSD.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Marcus K. Taylor, Behavioral Sciences and Epidemiology Department, Naval Health Research Center, 140 Sylvester Road, San Diego, CA 92106. E-mail: Marc.Taylor@med.navy.mil


This study explored distinctions between spontaneous and deliberate dissociative states in 335 military personnel exposed to stressful survival training. Participants completed the Clinician-Administered Dissociative States Scale (CADSS) after a stressful mock-captivity event. They were also asked to indicate whether the dissociative experiences just happened (i.e., spontaneous), or whether they chose to have them happen (i.e., deliberate); and whether they appraised the dissociative experience as helpful (i.e., facilitative) or hurtful (i.e., debilitative) to their ability to cope with the stressful event. A majority (95.4%) endorsed dissociative states during stress. More than half (57.4%) described dissociative experiences as spontaneous, 13.0% as deliberate, and 29.5% endorsed neither. In Special Forces soldiers only, those who endorsed facilitative dissociation exhibited higher total CADSS scores than those who endorsed debilitative dissociation. Seventy-three percent of spontaneous dissociators described the experience as debilitative to coping with stress; conversely, 76% of deliberate dissociators said these experiences facilitated coping with stress. Individuals with prior trauma exposure tended to appraise dissociative states as more debilitative to coping. This research may enhance the fidelity of studies of dissociation constructs and may offer pivot points for prevention and treatment of stress-related disorders.

Traditional and Simplified Chinese Abstracts by AsianSTSS


撮要:本研究在335名軍人中探討受壓生還特訓後自發和蓄意解離狀況的區別。參與者在一次受壓模擬囚禁訓練後接受臨床診斷解離狀況量表(CADSS)評估,和回答此等狀況是”自然發生”(即自發)或”選擇發生”(即蓄意),及自評此等狀況是有益(即促進)或有礙(即減弱)於本身應對此訓練的能力。大多數人(95.4%)贊同受壓時出現解離現象。多於半數(57.4%)人士形容為自發解離,13.0%則是蓄意解離,29.5%則兩者都不是。在特種部隊中,贊同解離為促進的人較減弱者有更高CADSS 總評分。73%自發解離者形容此等經歷減弱應付壓力的能力;反之,有76%蓄意解離者則認為此等經歷促進應付壓力的能力。有創傷經歷史的人士評價解離狀況嚴重減弱應對能力。本研究可能有助理解解離結構研究的真實情況,和提供了壓力相關疾病的預防和治療的重點。


撮要:本研究在335名军人中探讨受压生还特训后自发和蓄意解离状况的区别。参与者在一次受压模拟囚禁训练后接受临床诊断解离状况量表(CADSS)评估,和回答此等状况是”自然发生”(即自发)或”选择发生”(即蓄意),及自评此等状况是有益(即促进)或有碍(即减弱)于本身应对此训练的能力。大多数人(95.4%)赞同受压时出现解离现象。多于半数(57.4%)人士形容为自发解离,13.0%则是蓄意解离,29.5%则两者都不是。在特种部队中,赞同解离为促进的人较减弱者有更高CADSS 总评分。73%自发解离者形容此等经历减弱应付压力的能力;反之,有76%蓄意解离者则认为此等经历促进应付压力的能力。有创伤经历史的人士评价解离状况严重减弱应对能力。本研究可能有助理解解离结构研究的真实情况,和提供了压力相关疾病的预防和治疗的重点。