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Detection of dissociative disorders in psychiatric patients by a screening instrument and a structured diagnostic interview
Am J Psychiatry 1991;148:1050-1054.
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OBJECTIVE AND METHOD: Diagnosis and treatment of the dissociative disorders may be delayed for many years because of difficulties in detecting patients at high risk for dissociative disorders. This study investigates the utility of the Dissociative Experiences Scale (DES), a self-report instrument for dissociative experiences, in detecting patients at high risk for dissociative disorders. The clinician- administered Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-III-R Dissociative Disorders (SCID-D) was used as the diagnostic standard, and 36 outpatients with mixed diagnoses and nine normal subjects were evaluated for the presence and absence of a dissociative disorder. DES scores were then compared. RESULTS: Results indicate that a DES cutoff score of 15-20 yields good to excellent sensitivity and specificity as a screening instrument. However, for higher cutoff points the sensitivity can be much lower. CONCLUSIONS: Thus, although the DES can be used to identify some high-risk patients, they should be further evaluated with such diagnostic instruments as the SCID-D or by in-depth clinical follow-up.

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