DEPERSONALIZATION IN A NON-CLINICAL SAMPLE
Twenty participants self-referred from the general population as experiencing depersonalization were interviewed to determine the qualities of the experience and possible pathology. The participants and control group were also administered a battery of questionnaires measuring different aspects of psychopathology. There were no consistent diagnostic associations with depersonalization. In the majority of cases, onset was reported after a traumatic life event, or after sexual abuse or after giving birth. The most frequent experiences were related to derealization and participants did not score high on dissociation in general. The most common strategy to alleviate the problem was concentrating on a task. We distinguish between those clients who viewed the experience as a loss of or less than normal sensation, which we qualified as negative symptoms and others who evaluated the experience as an addition to their usual perceptions and sensations, which we qualified as positive symptoms.
Key Words: Depersonalization; derealization; coping strategies; psychopathology.
c1 Kieron O’Connor, Centre de Recherche Fernand-Seguin, Hopital Louis-H Lafontaine, 7331 rue Hochelaga, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H1N 3V2.