The diagnostic validity of multiple personality disorder (MPD) and its association to trauma have been questioned because corroboration of child abuse in studies of patients with MPD is scant. The purpose of this study was to determine on a retrospective basis whether external corroboration of child abuse could be found in a group of patients with MPD and dissociative disorder not otherwise specified. A group of child and adolescent psychiatric inpatients and outpatients was chosen because of the extensive number of collateral records collected on them in a tertiary care setting. This group was also chosen because of the intense interest paid by child protective services and courts to child abuse during the past 15 years. This retrospective chart review confirmed child abuse in eight of nine patients with MPD and in all 12 cases of dissociative disorder not otherwise specified. This study provides further evidence of the association of severe dissociative disorders with trauma, particularly child abuse. Future studies should be prospective and blinded to avoid the possibility of investigator bias, and should include a control group for comparison of base rate of child abuse.
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