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Auditory Hallucinations in Dissociative Identity Disorder and Schizophrenia With and Without a Childhood Trauma History: Similarities and Differences

Dorahy, Martin J. DClinPsych*†; Shannon, Ciarán DClinPsych‡§; Seagar, Lenaire RN; Corr, Mary DClinPsych; Stewart, Kellie MSc; Hanna, Donncha PhD§; Mulholland, Ciaran MRCPsych**††; Middleton, Warwick MD

The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease: December 2009 - Volume 197 - Issue 12 - p 892-898
doi: 10.1097/NMD.0b013e3181c299ea
Original Article

Little is known about similarities and differences in voice hearing in schizophrenia and dissociative identity disorder (DID) and the role of child maltreatment and dissociation. This study examined various aspects of voice hearing, along with childhood maltreatment and pathological dissociation in 3 samples: schizophrenia without child maltreatment (n = 18), schizophrenia with child maltreatment (n = 16), and DID (n = 29). Compared with the schizophrenia groups, the DID sample was more likely to have voices starting before 18, hear more than 2 voices, have both child and adult voices and experience tactile and visual hallucinations. The 3 groups were similar in that voice content was incongruent with mood and the location was more likely internal than external. Pathological dissociation predicted several aspects of voice hearing and appears an important variable in voice hearing, at least where maltreatment is present.

*Department of Psychology, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand; †The Cannan Institute, Belmont Private Hospital, Brisbane, Australia; ‡Clinical Psychology Department, Holywell Hospital, Antrim, Northern Ireland; §School of Psychology, The Queen's University of Belfast, Belfast, Northern Ireland; ¶Psychological Therapies Team, The Western HSC Trust, Derry, Northern Ireland; ∥Trauma Resource Centre, The Belfast HSC Trust, Belfast, Northern Ireland; **Department of Psychiatry, Whiteabbey Hospital, The Northern HSC Trust, Whiteabbey, Northern Ireland; and ††Department of Mental Health, The Queen's University of Belfast, Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Send reprint requests to Martin J. Dorahy, Department of Psychology, University of Canterbury, Private Bag 4800, Christchurch, 8140, New Zealand. E-mail:

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.