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Is the Dissociative Experiences Scale able to identify detachment and compartmentalization symptoms? Factor structure of the Dissociative Experiences Scale in a large sample of psychiatric and nonpsychiatric subjects

Authors Mazzotti E, Farina B, Imperatori C, Mansutti F, Prunetti E, Speranza AM, Barbaranelli C

Received 26 January 2016

Accepted for publication 9 March 2016

Published 3 June 2016 Volume 2016:12 Pages 1295—1302

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/NDT.S105110

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Xiang Mou

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Roger Pinder


Eva Mazzotti,1 Benedetto Farina,2 Claudio Imperatori,2 Federica Mansutti,3,4 Elena Prunetti,3,4 Anna Maria Speranza,5 Claudio Barbaranelli1

1Department of Psychology, Faculty of Medicine and Psychology, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy; 2Department of Human Sciences, European University of Rome, Rome, Italy; 3Associazione di Psicologia Cognitiva e Scuola di Psicoterapia Cognitiva, Rome, Italy; 4Casa di Cura Villa Margherita, Arcugagno (Vi) Italy, 5Department of Dynamic and Clinical Psychology, Sapienza University, Rome, Italy

Background: In this study, we explored the ability of the Dissociative Experiences Scale (DES) to catch detachment and compartmentalization symptoms.
Participants and methods: The DES factor structure was evaluated in 768 psychiatric patients (546 women and 222 men) and in 2,403 subjects enrolled in nonpsychiatric settings (1,857 women and 546 men). All participants were administered the Italian version of DES. Twenty senior psychiatric experts in the treatment of dissociative symptoms independently assessed the DES items and categorized each of them as follows: “C” for compartmentalization, “D” for detachment, and “NC” for noncongruence with either C or D.
Results: Confirmatory factor analysis supported the three-factor structure of DES in both clinical and nonclinical samples and its invariance across the two groups. Moreover, factor analyses results overlapped with those from the expert classification procedure.
Conclusion: Our results showed that DES can be used as a valid instrument for clinicians to assess the frequency of different types of dissociative experiences including detachment and compartmentalization.

Keywords: Dissociative Experiences Scale, confirmatory factor analysis, detachment, compartmentalization, validity

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