The Validity and Etiology of Dissociative Identity Disorder

Essay by mystikalkashCollege, UndergraduateA, March 2007

download word file, 9 pages 0.0

Downloaded 62 times

Formerly known as Multiple Personality Disorder, Dissociative Identity Disorder is described by the DSM-IV as "a failure to integrate various aspects of identity, memory and consciousness" in which such functions are disintegrated to the extent that two or more personality states or identities develop, thus the term "multiple personalities". Dissociative Identity Disorder is a complicated psychological problem with unique symptoms across cases, not allowing for uniform diagnoses. Psychologists debate over its very existence as a legitimate condition as well as whether its etiology is based on a posttraumatic model or a sociocognitive model, both of which hold value as a reliable approach (Elzinga; Phaf; Ardon; van Dyck, 2003).

The disagreements regarding the existence of Dissociative Identity Disorder as a genuine condition are rooted in the inadequate amount of experimental investigations as well as the recent increase in amount and, along with it, the variety of cases that have developed. In an effort to come to a level of diagnostic validity, researchers have examined any sets of clinical features and psychological processes that separate and differentiate patients of Dissociative Identity Disorder with those that do not have the condition.

Using a research process known as a self-report measure as well as other techniques, evidence has been found that DID patients actually do display a set of common clinical features. Included in these are "episodes of partial or total amnesia, history of childhood trauma, non-psychotic hearing of voices, subjective sense of being controlled by a foreign entity, and alterations in identity such as diary entries in different handwritings." While these results stayed true to the hypotheses of the researchers, the reliability of the testing has seen scrutiny by critics due to the small numbers of participants. Despite this criticism, as well the probable influence of experimenter bias, the findings still support the...