Profiling psychopathology of patients reporting early childhood trauma and emotional neglect: Support for a two-dimensional model?

Marleen Wildschut, Sanne Swart, Willemien Langeland, Adriaan Hoogendoorn, Jan H. Smit, Nel Draijer

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Objective: Profiling patients who report early childhood trauma and emotional neglect may be useful for treatment planning. This study attempts to quantify a two-dimensional "trauma-neglect model" (Draijer, 2003) proposed to distinguish clinical profiles in terms of trauma-related, dissociative, and personality pathology. Method: A sample of patients referred to a trauma program (n=49) and a personality disorders program (n= 101) was extensively assessed. Cluster analysis was used to discriminate patients in terms of "psychiatric disease burden," based on symptom severity scores, type of disorder, and level of maladaptive personality functioning. Clusters that differed in psychiatric disease burden were mapped in the trauma-neglect space and their positions were evaluated. Results: We found three clusters and labeled them as "mildly impaired" (26% of patients), "moderately impaired" (43% of patients), and "severely impaired" (31% of patients). The mean scores on trauma and neglect for the mild and severe groups differed significantly. Conclusions: These findings indicate that further investigation of the validity of the model, which may be used to plan treatment, is useful. Patients experiencing a wide range of trauma-related disorders, dissociative disorders (DD), and personality disorders (PD), combined with a high level of psychiatric symptoms and a maladaptive style of personality functioning, report a range of traumatic experiences in combination with a lack of maternal care, and can be profiled as "severely impaired".
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)525-533
JournalPsychological Trauma: Theory, Research, and Practice
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2019

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