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Dissociative Disorders: Gender and Sex Differences

Gender and sex are terms that are often used interchangeably; however, according to the American Psychological Association, the former refers to social constructions, whereas the latter refers to biological characteristics. The role of gender or sex in dissociative disorders varies by disorder and developmental stage. In child samples, most studies of dissociative disorder show no gender differences. In adulthood, depersonalization/derealization disorder typically yields a 1:1 gender ratio, but samples of adults with dissociative identity disorder and dissociative amnesia are more commonly predominately female. This entry discusses the mechanisms for this gender effect.

Many explanations for the female domination of the dissociative disorders are centered on trauma history. Although there are inconsistencies in the literature examining gender differences in rates of dissociation after a traumatic event, ...

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