Dissociative experiences on ice - peritraumatic and trait dissociation during the cold pressor test

T.M. Giesbrecht*, T. Smeets, H.L.G.J. Merckelbach

*Corresponding author for this work

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The present study investigated the relationship between trait dissociation and peritraumatic dissociation during acute painful stimulation. In a sample of 70 undergraduate students, peritraumatic dissociation was induced by means of a cold pressor test, which basically consists of participants holding an arm in ice water for as long as possible. Results indicate that heightened trait dissociation scores were related to shorter durations that participants could sustain the task. However, trait dissociation was not associated with increases in acute dissociative symptoms (i.e., peritraumatic dissociation). These findings are in sharp contrast to the defensive function ascribed to both types of dissociation and also the commonly held assumption that peritraumatic and trait dissociation are intimately linked.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-121
JournalPsychiatry Research
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2008

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