The Scientific Status of Childhood Dissociative Identity Disorder: A Review of Published ResearchBoysen G.A.
Department of Psychology, State University of New York (SUNY) at Fredonia, Fredonia, N.Y., USA
Do you have an account?
- Rent for 48h to view
- Buy Cloud Access for unlimited viewing via different devices
- Synchronizing in the ReadCube Cloud
- Printing and saving restrictions apply
Rental: USD 8.50
Cloud: USD 20.00
Article / Publication Details
Background: Dissociative identity disorder (DID) remains a controversial diagnosis due to conflicting views on its etiology. Some attribute DID to childhood trauma and others attribute it to iatrogenesis. The purpose of this article is to review the published cases of childhood DID in order to evaluate its scientific status, and to answer research questions related to the etiological models. Methods: I searched MEDLINE and PsycINFO records for studies published since 1980 on DID/multiple personality disorder in children. For each study I coded information regarding the origin of samples and diagnostic methods. Results: The review produced a total of 255 cases of childhood DID reported as individual case studies (44) or aggregated into empirical studies (211). Nearly all cases (93%) emerged from samples of children in treatment, and multiple personalities was the presenting problem in 23% of the case studies. Four US research groups accounted for 65% of all 255 cases. Diagnostic methods typically included clinical evaluation based on Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder criteria, but hypnosis, structured interviews, and multiple raters were rarely used in diagnoses. Conclusion: Despite continuing research on the related concepts of trauma and dissociation, childhood DID itself appears to be an extremely rare phenomenon that few researchers have studied in depth. Nearly all of the research that does exist on childhood DID is from the 1980s and 1990s and does not resolve the ongoing controversies surrounding the disorder.
© 2011 S. Karger AG, Basel
American Psychiatric Association: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, ed 4, rev. Washington, American Psychiatric Association, 2000.
Gharaibeh N: Dissociative identity disorder: time to remove it from DSM-V? Curr Psychiatr 2009;31:30–36.
- Ross CA: Errors of logic and scholarship concerning dissociative identity disorder. J Child Sex Abus 2009;18:221–231.
- Dalenberg C, Loewenstein R, Spiegel D, Brewin C, Lanius R, Frankel S, Gold S, van der Kolk B, Simeon D, Vermetten E, Butler L, Koopman C, Courtois C, Dell P, Nijenhuis E, Chu J, Sar V, Palesh O, Cuevas C, Paulson K: Scientific study of dissociative disorders. Psychother Psychosom 2007;76:400–401.
Cardena E, Gleaves DH: Dissociative disorders; in Herson M, Turner SM, Beidel DC (eds): Adult Psychopathology and Diagnosis. Hoboken, John Wiley & Sons, 2007, pp 473–503.
- Lilienfeld SO, Lynn SJ, Kirsch I, Chavez JF, Sarbin TR, Ganaway GK: Dissociative identity disorder and the sociocognitive model: recalling the lessons of the past. Psychol Bull 1999;125:507–523.
Piper A, Mersky H: The persistence of folly: a critical examination of dissociative identity disorder. Part 1. The excesses of an improbable concept. Can J Psychiatry 2004;49:592–600.
- Spanos NP: Multiple identity enactments and multiple personality disorder: a sociocognitive perspective. Psychol Bull 1994;116:143–165.
- Pope HG Jr, Barry S, Bodkin A, Hudson JI: Tracking scientific interest in the dissociative disorders: a study of scientific publication output 1984–2003. Psychother Psychosom 2006;75:19–24.
- Gleaves DH: The sociocognitive model of dissociative identity disorder: a reexamination of the evidence. Psychol Bull 1996;120:42–59.
- Gleaves DH, Cardena E: An examination of the diagnostic validity of dissociative identity disorder. Clin Psychol Rev 2001;21:577–608.
- Kihlstrom JF: Dissociative disorders. Ann Rev Clin Psychol 2005;1:227–253.
Chu JA: On the misdiagnosis of multiple personality disorder. Dissociation 1991;4:200–204.
- Lewis DO: Diagnostic evaluation of the child with dissociative identity disorder/multiple personality disorder. Child Adolesc Psychiatr Clin N Am 1996:5:303–331.
Maldondo JR, Spiegel D: Dissociative disorders; in Hales RE, Yudofsky SC, Gabbard GO (eds): The American Psychiatric Publishing Textbook of Psychiatry, ed 5. Washington, American Psychiatric Association, 2008, pp 665–710.
- Steinberg M: Advances in the clinical assessment of dissociation: the SCID-D-R. Bull Menninger Clin 2000;64:146–163.
American Psychiatric Association: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, ed 3. Washington, American Psychiatric Association, 2000.
- Adityanjee, Raju GSP, Khandelwal SK: Current status of multiple personality disorder in India. Am J Psychiatry 1989;146:1607–1610.
Albini TK, Pease TE: Normal and pathological dissociations of early childhood. Dissociation 1989;2:144–150.
- Bowman ES, Blix S, Coons PM: Multiple personality in adolescence: relationship to incestual experiences. J Am Acad Child Psychiatry 1985;24:109–114.
- Fagon J, McMahon PP: Incipient multiple personality in children: four cases. J Nerv Ment Dis 1984;172:26–36.
Gupta A, Kuma D: Multiple personality disorder: a case report from Northern India. German J Psychiatry 2005;4:98–100.
Jacobson T: Case study: is selective mutism a manifestation of dissociative identity disorder? J Am Acad Child Psychiatry 1995;34:863–866.
Klein H, Mann DR, Goodwin JM: Obstacles to the recognition of sexual abuse and dissociative disorders in child and adolescent males. Dissociation 1994;7:138–144.
- Kluft RP: Multiple personality in childhood. Psychiatr Clin North Am 1984;7:121–134.
- LaPorta LD: Childhood trauma and multiple personality disorder: the case of a 9-year-old girl. Child Abuse Negl 1992;16:615–620.
- Malenbaum R, Russell AT: Multiple personality disorder in an 11-year-old boy and his mother. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 1987;26:436–439.
- Ozman M, Erdogan A, Aydemir EH, Oguz O: Dissociative identity disorder presenting as dermatitis artefacta. Int J Dermatol 2006;45:770–771.
Peterson G: Children coping with trauma: diagnosis of ‘dissociation identity disorder’. Dissociation 1991;4:152–164.
Riley RL, Mead J: The development of symptoms of multiple personality disorder in a child of three. Dissociation 1988;1:41–46.
Snow MS, White J, Pilkington L, Beckman D: Dissociative identity disorder revealed through play therapy: a case study of a four-year-old. Dissociation 1996;8:120–123.
Steinberg A, Steinberg M: Systematic assessment of dissociative identity disorder in an adolescent who is blind. Dissociation 1994;7:117–128.
- Steinberg M, Steinberg A: Using the SCID-D to assess dissociative identity disorder in adolescents: three case studies. Bull Menninger Clin 1995;59:221–231.
Tyson GM: Childhood MPD/dissociation identity disorder: applying and extending current diagnostic checklists. Dissociation 1992;5:20–27.
- Weiss M, Sutton PJ, Utecht AJ: Multiple personality in a 10-year-old girl. J Am Acad Child Psychiatry 1985;24:495–501.
Zoroglu S, Yargic LI, Tutkun H, Ozturk M, Sar V: Dissociative identity disorder in childhood: five Turkish cases. Dissociation 1996;9:253–260.
- Coons PM: Clinical phenomenology of 25 children and adolescents with dissociative disorders. Child Adolesc Psychiatr Clin N Am 1996;5:361–374.
- Dell PF, Eisenhower JW: Adolescent multiple personality disorder: a preliminary study of eleven cases. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 1990;29:359–366.
- Endo T, Sugiyama T, Someya T: Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and dissociative disorder among abused children. Psychiatry Clin Neurosci 2006;60:434–438.
- Hornstein NL, Putnam FW: Clinical phenomenology of child and adolescent multiple personality disorders. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 1992;31:1077–1085.
- Hornstein NL, Tyson S: Inpatient treatment of children with multiple personality disorder/dissociative disorders and their families. Psychiatr Clin North Am 1991;14:631–648.
- Lev-Wiesel R: Dissociative identity disorder as reflective in drawings of sexually abused survivors. Arts Psychother 2005;32:372–381.
- Putnam FW, Helmers K, Trickett PK: Development, reliability and validity of a child dissociation scale. Child Abuse Negl 1993;17:731–741.
- Ross CA: Epidemiology of multiple personality disorder and dissociation. Psychiatr Clin North Am 1991;14:503–517.
- Ross CA: Epidemiology of dissociation in children and adolescents. Child Adolesc Psychiatr Clin N Am 1996;5:273–284.
- Sar V, Yargic LI, Tutkun H: Structured interview data on 35 cases of dissociative identity disorder in Turkey. Am J Psychiatry 1996;153:1329–1333.
- Silberg JL: Dissociative symptomatology in children and adolescents as displayed on psychological testing. J Pers Assess 1998;71:421–439.
- Trujillo K, Lewis DO, Yeager CA, Gidlow B: Imaginary companions of school boys and boys with dissociative identity disorder/multiple personality disorder: a normal to pathologic continuum. Child Adolesc Psychiatr Clin N Am 1996;5:375–391.
- Yeager CA, Lewis DO: The intergenerational transmission of violence and dissociation. Child Adolesc Psychiatr Clin N Am 1996;5:393–430.
Reagor PA, Kasten JD, Morelli N: A checklist for screening dissociative disorders in children and adolescents. Dissociation 1992;5:4–19.
Dell PF, O’Neil JA (eds): Dissociation and the Dissociative Disorders. DSM-V and beyond. New York, Routledge, 2009.
- Taylor GJ: Affects, trauma, and mechanisms of symptom formation: a tribute to John C. Nemiah, MD (1918–2009). Psychother Psychosom 2010;79:339–349.
Article / Publication Details
Copyright / Drug Dosage / DisclaimerCopyright: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be translated into other languages, reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, microcopying, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in government regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug.
Disclaimer: The statements, opinions and data contained in this publication are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publishers and the editor(s). The appearance of advertisements or/and product references in the publication is not a warranty, endorsement, or approval of the products or services advertised or of their effectiveness, quality or safety. The publisher and the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content or advertisements.