The dissociative subtype of PTSD in trauma-exposed individuals: a latent class analysis and examination of clinical covariates

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch articleContributedpeer-review


  • Aljosha Deen - , University Hospital Hamburg Eppendorf (Author)
  • Sarah V Biedermann - , University Hospital Hamburg Eppendorf (Author)
  • Annett Lotzin - , University Hospital Hamburg Eppendorf (Author)
  • Antje Krüger-Gottschalk - , University of Münster (Author)
  • Anne Dyer - , University of Mannheim (Author)
  • Christine Knaevelsrud - , Free University of Berlin (Author)
  • Heinrich Rau - , German Armed Forces Hospital Berlin (Author)
  • Julia Schellong - , Department of Psychotherapy and Psychosomatic Medicine, Biotechnology Center (Author)
  • Thomas Ehring - , Department Psychology and Neurosciences (Author)
  • Ingo Schäfer - , University Hospital Hamburg Eppendorf (Author)


BACKGROUND: A dissociative subtype of posttraumatic stress disorder (D-PTSD) was introduced into the 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) but latent profiles and clinical correlates of D-PTSD remain controversial.

OBJECTIVE: The aims of our study were to identify subgroups of individuals with distinct patterns of PTSD symptoms, including dissociative symptoms, by means of latent class analyses (LCA), to compare these results with the categorization of D-PTSD vs. PTSD without dissociative features according to the CAPS-5 interview, and to explore whether D-PTSD is associated with higher PTSD severity, difficulties in emotion regulation, and depressive symptoms.

METHOD: A German sample of treatment-seeking individuals was investigated (N = 352). We conducted an LCA on the basis of symptoms of PTSD and dissociation as assessed by the CAPS-5. Moreover, severity of PTSD (PCL-5), difficulties in emotion regulation (DERS), and depressive symptoms (BDI-II) were compared between patients with D-PTSD according to the CAPS-5 interview and patients without dissociative symptoms.

RESULTS: LCA results suggested a 5-class model with one subgroup showing the highest probability to fulfill criteria for the dissociative subtype and high scores on both BDI and DERS. Significantly higher scores on the DERS, BDI and PCL-5 were found in the D-PTSD group diagnosed with the CAPS-5 (n = 75; 35.7%). Sexual trauma was also reported more often by this subgroup. When comparing the dissociative subtype to the LCA results, only a partial overlap could be found.

CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest that patients with D-PTSD have significantly more problems with emotion regulation, more depressive symptoms, and more severe PTSD-symptoms. Given the results of our LCA, we conclude that the dissociative subtype seems to be more complex than D-PTSD as diagnosed by means of the CAPS-5.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2031591
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2022

External IDs

PubMedCentral PMC8903748
Scopus 85126255251



  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Dissociative Disorders/diagnosis, Humans, Latent Class Analysis, Sexual Trauma, Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic/diagnosis