Differences Between Individuals with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) Based on Receipt of Government Disability Benefits




Richards, Jennifer Selah

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This study compared outpatient individuals who have Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) and receive governmental disability benefits (n=42) to individuals who have DID and are not receiving governmental disability benefits (n=90). Internet peer support groups for DID were used to invite volunteers to answer an online questionnaire concerning past and current psychosocial aspects of their lives, abuse history, and psychological treatment history. The Dissociative Experiences Scale (DES) was also administered and scored. While there were several similarities between the two groups, significant differences between the two groups were found. The disabled group had been in therapy for an average of 4.7 years longer than the non-disabled group, and had spent an average of 2.9 years longer in therapy prior to the DID diagnosis than the non-disabled group. Overall DES and DESTaxon scores showed no significant differences between the two groups. However, two questions that are part of the DES-T and four questions that are not part of the DES-T were found to have significant differences between the two groups, indicating that the disabled group had more severe or more frequent occurrences of amnesia-related dissociative experiences. Rehabilitation counseling could attempt to restore or improve functioning levels by focusing on the specific symptoms and experiences listed as reasons why the DID became disabling. The three most common reasons listed for why DID became disabling were losing ime or memory difficulties (52.4%), rapid switching between alter personalities (35.7%), nd depression (26.2%). The three most commonly reported ways in which DID negatively affected work or school tasks were concentration difficulties (34.4%), forgetting or not ompleting tasks (31.3%), and experiencing anxiety or panic attacks (11.1%). These common difficulties may be useful areas for treatment and intervention for individuals with DID who are not currently receiving disability benefits in an attempt to prevent disability benefits becoming a necessity. They may also be useful treatment areas for helping those who are receiving disability benefits successfully return to a vocation.

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