Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
School of Education
Counseling Psychology, Ph.D.
Frederick A. Kosinski, Jr.
Problem. Childhood incest appears to play a role in the formation of Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) (formerly Multiple Personality Disorder). This study investigated whether a relationship exists between dissociation and object-relations impairment in incest survivors and whether DID incest survivors have higher levels of these characteristics than non-DID incest survivors.
Method. The Dissociative Experience Scale, Bell Object Relations Reality Testing Inventory and Childhood Maltreatment Interview Schedule-Short Form were completed by a sample of 60 adult female incest survivor clients. 29 who met the diagnosis for DID and 31 who did not.
The Results. All three hypotheses were supported at a .05 level. A significant relationship between dissociation and object-relations impairment was found. The DID group reported significantly higher levels of dissociation and object-relations impairment than the non-DID group and higher incidences of childhood maltreatment and adult traumas. A discriminant analysis found that DID clients can be differentiated from non-DID clients based on dissociative experiences and object-relations scores. The DID group consistently reported higher incidences of childhood maltreatment, psychological abuse, and adult traumatization than the non-DID group.
Conclusions. The findings support an object-relations model for incest and suggest that personality splitting found in DID clients may be related to a developmental arrest in early-life intrapsychic splitting mechanisms described by Kemberg (1966. 1975, 1976) and others. It is possible that therapists may serve as "transitional objects” for incest survivors with object-relations deficits. Past research has viewed incest as leading to a variety of PTSD symptoms, however some effects, especially personality splitting, may originate even before the incest occurs when very young children are exposed to harsh or psychologically overwhelming situations.
Incest--Psychological aspects, Adult child abuse victims.
Stuppy, Linda Jean, "The Relationship Between Dissociation and Object-Relations Impairment in Adult Female Incest Survivor Clients with and without Personality Splitting" (1996). Dissertations. 720.
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