Clinical Phenomenology of Childhood Abuse-Related Complex PTSD in a Population of Female Patients: Patterns of Personality Disturbance

E. Dorrepaal, K. Thomaes, J.H. Smit, A. Hoogendoorn, D.J. Veltman, A.J.L.M. van Balkom, P.J. Draijer

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Objective: Complex posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) involves a variety of personality disturbances presumed to result from repeated interpersonal trauma such as child abuse. As Complex PTSD patients are a heterogeneous population, we searched for clinically relevant personality-based subtypes. Method: This study used a cluster analysis of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV), Axis II features within a sample of 71 female outpatients with systematically assessed child abuse-related Complex PTSD. Results: Two main subtypes were found: adaptive and nonadaptive. The latter was further differentiated into withdrawn, alienated, suffering, and aggressive subtypes, characterized by different levels of introversion and disinhibition. Among the nonadaptive subtypes, the severity of Complex PTSD symptoms was lowest in the withdrawn (introverted only) subtype. The subtypes differed in their level of dissociation and depression but did not differ regarding PTSD symptoms, trauma history, or parental bonding characteristics. Conclusion: Confirming earlier findings, our study found personality-based Complex PTSD subtypes, which could implicate differential treatment needs and results. © 2012 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)271-290
JournalJournal of Trauma & Dissociation
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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