ArticlePERITRAUMATIC DISSOCIATION AND PHYSIOLOGICAL RESPONSE TO TRAUMA-RELEVANT STIMULI IN VIETNAM COMBAT VETERANS WITH POSTTRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDERKAUFMAN, MILISSA L. B.S.1,2; KIMBLE, MATTHEW O. Ph.D1,2; KALOUPEK, DANNY G. Ph.D.1,2; MCTEAGUE, LISA M. B.A.1; BACHRACH, PETER Ph.D.1,2; FORTI, ALLISON M. B.A.1; KEANE, TERENCE M. Ph.D.1,2Author Information 1 National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Behavioral Science Division, VA Boston Healthcare System, Psychology 116B-2, 150 South Huntington Ave., Boston MA 02130. Send reprint requests to Dr. Kimble. 2 Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A. This work was financially supported in part by an American Heart Association Medical Student Research Fellowship (#96507) to M. L. K. and a National Institute of Mental Health FIRST Award (R29 1 MH58215) and VA Merit Review Entry Grant to M. O. K. This work was presented in part at the 15th annual meeting of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, Miami, Florida, November 14 to 17, 1999. The authors thank Frank Hsieh, Ph.D., and Yajie Wang, who conducted the programming required for the statistical analyses contained in this article. The authors also thank the Department of Veterans Affairs, Cooperative Study Project Center, which funded the original project. The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease: March 2002 - Volume 190 - Issue 3 - p 167-174 Buy Abstract A recent study found that female rape victims with acute posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) who received a high score on the Peritraumatic Dissociative Experiences Questionnaire exhibited suppression of physiological responses during exposure to trauma-related stimuli. The goal of our present study was to test whether the same relationship holds true for male Vietnam combat veterans with chronic PTSD, using secondary analyses applied to data derived from a Veteran’s Affairs Cooperative Study. Vietnam combat veterans (N = 1238) completed measures to establish combat-related PTSD diagnostic status, extent of PTSD-related symptomatic distress, and presence of dissociative symptoms during their most stressful combat-related experiences. Extreme subgroups of veterans with current PTSD were classified as either low dissociators (N = 118) or high dissociators (N = 256) based on an abbreviated version of the Peritraumatic Dissociative Experiences Questionnaire. Dependent variables reflected subjective distress along with heart rate, skin conductance, electromyographic, and blood pressure data when responding to neutral and trauma-related audiovisual and imagery presentations. Veterans in the current PTSD group had significantly higher dissociation scores than did veterans in the lifetime and never PTSD groups. Among veterans with current PTSD, high dissociators reported greater PTSD-related symptomatic distress than did low dissociators, but the groups did not differ with respect to physiological reactivity to the trauma-related laboratory presentations. Our results replicate the previously reported relationship between peritraumatic dissociation and PTSD status in Vietnam combat veterans. However, we found no association between peritraumatic dissociation and the extent of physiological responding to trauma-relevant cues in male veterans with chronic combat-related PTSD. © 2002 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.