Dissociative Disorders: Cultural Factors

A number of linked experiences are defined as dissociation, including depersonalization, derealization, many forms of trance, automatic behaviors, and identity fragmentation. Such states are thought to protect the individual from fully experiencing severe stress or trauma, and frequency of these experiences reliably correlates with trauma severity across cultures. The form of these manifestations varies across cultures, as does the frequency of nonpathological versions of dissociation that might predispose an individual to later more pathological dissociation.

As is true for many psychological diagnoses or constructs, the culture in which the construct is applied will influence prevalence, expression, and form of each disorder. Cultural differences will also affect the decision of where to place the line between normal and abnormal variations of dissociative experiences within subcategories. It ...

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