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Alper K; Devinsky O; Perrine K; Luciano D; Vazquez B; Pacia S; Rhee E
"Dissociation in epilepsy and conversion nonepileptic seizures"
Epilepsia 1997 Sep; 38(9):991-997
PURPOSE: We examined the dimensionality of the item content of the Dissociative Experiences Scale (DES) in relation to the clinical diagnosis of conversion nonepileptic seizures (C-NES) versus complex partial epilepsy (CPE). METHODS: The DES was administered to a sex- and age-matched sample of 132 patients with C-NES and 169 with CPE and was factor analyzed with principal components analysis (PCA) with varimax rotation. RESULTS: The mean total DES score was 15.1 in the C-NES group and 12.7 in the CPE group (p = 0.079). The factors obtained by PCA differentiated the CPE and C-NES groups more strongly than did the total DES score. The factor accounting for the most variance, interpreted as 'depersonalization-derealization,' was significantly greater in C-NES than CPE (p = 0.005). An 'absorption-imaginative involvement' factor, which included some of the clinical features of posttraumatic stress disorder was elevated only in subjects reporting histories of childhood abuse (p = 0.001) regardless of the diagnosis of CPE or C-NES. An 'amnestic' factor appearing to represent memory problems related to neurologic impairment showed a trend toward elevation in CPE (p = 0.056) and may have confounded the CPE versus C-NES distinction using total DES scores. CONCLUSIONS: The DES has separate underlying dimensions that appear to relate distinctively to depersonalization and derealization, childhood trauma, and neurologic impairment. The heterogeneous item content of the DES is a potential confound that should be appreciated when this instrument is used to study dissociation in neuropsychiatric populations

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