Peritraumatic dissociation as a mediator of peritraumatic distress and PTSD: a retrospective, cross-sectional study.
ABSTRACT The objective of the present article was to examine the mediational significance of peritraumatic dissociation in the relationship between peritraumatic distress and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). A total of 71 individuals with spinal cord injuries completed interviews and questionnaires measuring PTSD symptomatology, peritraumatic dissociation, and peritraumatic distress. Peritraumatic dissociation was found to partially mediate the relationship between peritraumatic distress and PTSD symptomatology. These findings provide support for the hypothesis that peritraumatic distress and peritraumatic dissociation significantly impact PTSD severity. The findings also support the hypothesis that peritraumatic dissociation is provoked by peritraumatic distress. The results further indicate that although peritraumatic dissociation seems to be a significant risk factor for PTSD, it is not necessary for the development of PTSD; the presence of peritraumatic distress may be sufficient. These findings highlight the importance of investigating peritraumatic reactions after a traumatic event in order to identify individuals at risk for developing PTSD. Such a practice may help prevent the development of chronic conditions.