Complex PTSD, interpersonal trauma and relational consequences: Findings from a treatment-receiving Northern Irish sample

M.J. Dorahy, M. Corry, M. Shannon, A. MacSherry, G. Hamilton, G. McRobert, R. Elder, Donncha Hanna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

58 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background:
The relationship between PTSD and complex PTSD remains unclear. As well as further addressing this issue, the current study aimed to assess the degree to which DESNOS (complex PTSD) was related to interpersonal trauma and had relational consequences.

Methods:
Eighty one treatment-receiving participants with a history of exposure to the ‘Troubles’ in Northern Ireland, were assessed on various forms of interpersonal trauma, including exposure to the Troubles, and measures of interpersonal and community connectedness.

Results:
DESNOS symptom severity was related to childhood sexual abuse and perceived psychological impact of Troubles-related exposure. A lifetime diagnosis of DESNOS was related to childhood Troubles-related experiences, while a current diagnosis of DESNOS was associated with childhood emotional neglect. PTSD avoidance predicted current DESNOS diagnosis and severity. Feeling emotionally disconnected from family and friends (i.e., interpersonal disconnectedness) was related to all three indices of DESNOS (i.e., lifetime diagnosis, current diagnosis and current symptom severity).

Limitations:
Sample characteristics (i.e., treatment-receiving) and size may limit the generalizability of findings.

Conclusions:
Complex PTSD is associated with PTSD but when present should be considered a superordinate diagnosis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-80
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Volume112
Issue number1-3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology

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