Beng-Yeong Ng, Consultant Psychiatrist (Correspondence) Department of Behavioural Medicine, Singapore General Hospital, Outram Road, Singapore 169608. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Psychosocial stressors that precipitate dissociative trance disorder in Singapore
Article first published online: 11 JUN 2004
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry
Volume 38, Issue 6, pages 426–432, June 2004
How to Cite
Ng, B.-Y. and Chan, Y.-H. (2004), Psychosocial stressors that precipitate dissociative trance disorder in Singapore. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 38: 426–432. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1614.2004.01379.x
Yiong-Huak Chan, Head of Biostatistics Clinical Trials and Epidemiology Research Unit, Singapore.
- Issue published online: 11 JUN 2004
- Article first published online: 11 JUN 2004
- Received 27 March 2003; revised 13 October 2003; accepted 10 February 2004.
- dissociative trance disorder;
- psychosocial stressor;
- spirit possession;
Objective: To study the psychosocial stressors that precipitate dissociative trance disorder (DTD) and to identify predictors of DTD.
Method: We conducted semistructured interviews in which detailed information was obtained for 58 cases diagnosed with DTD at a psychiatric hospital in Singapore. A comparison group of 58 patients who received treatment at the same hospital for major depression (MD) were also interviewed, using the same instrument.
Results: While 100% of the DTD group described at least one psychosocial stressor, only 80% of the MD group did so. Common stressors for the DTD group include problems with military life (38%), conflicts over religious and cultural issues (38%), and domestic disharmony and marital woes (24%). Conflicts over religious and cultural issues seemed to be important in the precipitation of DTD but not in the precipitation of MD (p < 0.001). Logistic regression reveals that the following are positive predictors for DTD: conflicts over religious and cultural issues; prior exposure to trance states; and being a spiritual healer or his/her assistant.
Conclusions: An understanding of the precipitating psychosocial stressors that overwhelmed the patient's coping abilities would have implications for treatment and enable the clinician to devise strategies for intervention and prevention.