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Keywords:

  • emotional numbing;
  • PTSD;
  • depression;
  • dissociation

Abstract

Some researchers consider emotional numbing a cardinal feature of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Others view numbing symptoms as representing an overlap between PTSD, depression, and dissociation. In this study, we examined the ability of early emotional numbing, depression, and dissociation symptoms to predict PTSD. One-hundred sixty-one women who were recent victims of sexual or nonsexual assault were assessed prospectively for 12 weeks. Emotional numbing, depression, and dissociation were each associated with initial PTSD severity. Notably, regression analyses revealed that after depression and dissociation were accounted for, early numbing contributed to the prediction of later PTSD.