• PTSD;
  • peritraumatic dissociation;
  • trauma narratives


Peritraumatic dissociation, i.e., dissociation during or immediately after a traumatic event, has been associated with persistence of trauma-related pathology. Peritraumatic dissociation may interfere with encoding of traumatic memories and this style may impede recovery. This study examines this hypothesis by analyzing trauma narratives from 28 female sexual and nonsexual assault victims who reported either high or low peritraumatic dissociation. Participants were asked to recount their assault. Narratives were videotaped, transcribed, and coded. Narratives of individuals with high peritraumatic dissociation had higher grade levels and a trend toward lower reading ease than those with low peritraumatic dissociation. Both higher grade levels and lower reading ease of prethreat sections of trauma narratives were related to posttreatment reexperiencing and anxiety symptoms.