Acute dissociation predicts rapid habituation of skin conductance responses to aversive auditory probes

T.M. Giesbrecht, H.L.G.J. Merckelbach, L. ter Burg, M J. Cima, D. Simeon

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Abstract

The present study examined how acute dissociation, trait-like dissociative symptoms, and physiological reactivity relate to each other. Sixty-nine undergraduate students were exposed to 14 aversive auditory probes, while their skin conductance responses were measured. A combination of self-reported anxiety and trait-like dissociation was found to predict variability in peritraumatic dissociation levels induced by the aversive probes. Furthermore, high levels of acute dissociation were associated with faster habituation of skin conductance responding, while trait-like dissociation was unrelated to habituation. Interestingly, individuals who reported childhood trauma displayed elevated skin conductance responses. Our findings contribute to the growing body of evidence indicating that subjective feelings of acute dissociation have their objective concomitants, notably fast habituation of physiologic responses.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)247-250
JournalJournal of Traumatic Stress
Volume21
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2008

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