Dissociation as a Cross-Cutting Dimension: Relations with Affectivity, Personality, and Psychopathology

Master's Thesis


Dissociation is a construct that is woven throughout personality and psychopathology. This study examines the extent to which dissociation is a generalized marker of psychopathology, and the extent to which dissociation and its facets (Depersonalization/Derealization, Memory Disturbances (amnesia) and Fantasy (absorption/imagination) are specifically related to positive and negative affectivity, normative and maladaptive personality, and diagnoses of major forms of psychopathology. Data were analyzed using bivariate and multivariate analyses to explore the question of generality versus specificity of dissociation as a symptom, in addition to possible suppressor effects that may skew the relations of its absorption/imagination component. Overall dissociation and Memory Disturbances were found to be cross-cutting symptom dimensions, at both the bivariate and multivariate levels; for example, it was related to low positive affectivity and high negative affectivity; Neuroticism (strongly), most maladaptive personality traits, and virtually all diagnoses (including internalizing, externalizing, and oddity). At the bivariate level, Depersonalization/Derealization and Fantasy correlated in the same general pattern, but each displayed unique associations across analyses. At the multivariate level, Depersonalization/Derealization was adaptive for normal-range personality, yet related to several maladaptive personality traits and uniquely predicted psychotic disorder; Fantasy was adaptive via positive affectivity and extraversion, yet predicted antagonistic maladaptive traits and uniquely predicted manic episodes. Dissociation is an important clinical construct across disorders, not just PTSD, which needs more attention in both the research and the clinical realms.


Attribute NameValues
  • etd-12082014-103515

Author Stephanie Anne Ellickson-Larew
Advisor David Watson
Contributor Lee Anna Clark, Committee Member
Contributor David Watson, Committee Chair
Contributor David A. Smith, Committee Member
Degree Level Master's Thesis
Degree Discipline Psychology
Degree Name MA
Defense Date
  • 2014-09-29

Submission Date 2014-12-08
  • United States of America

  • ffm

  • absorption

  • depersonalization

  • unusual sleep experiences

  • diagnosis

  • amnesia

  • personality

  • University of Notre Dame

  • English

Record Visibility Public
Content License
  • All rights reserved

Departments and Units


Please Note: You may encounter a delay before a download begins. Large or infrequently accessed files can take several minutes to retrieve from our archival storage system.