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From Obscurity to Daylight: The Study of Dissociation in Puerto Rico

NCJ Number
Journal of Trauma Practice Volume: 4 Issue: 3/4 Dated: 2005 Pages: 271-285
Alfonso Martinez-Taboas
Date Published
15 pages
This article provides a review of the progression of clinical and research efforts regarding dissociation and dissociative disorders (DD) in Puerto Rico from 1986 through 2005.
Based on the review of the research regarding DD in Puerto Rico, the author presents several conclusions, which include the observation that the DES is a useful clinical screening tool for the Hispanic population, that DID patients in Puerto Rico have a nearly identical psychological profile with DID patients in other countries, and that there are now many psychologists and psychiatrists in Puerto Rico who recognize and diagnose dissociation in their clinical and research work. The author also offers suggestions for growing the knowledge base about dissociation in Puerto Rico: (1) publish results in a systematic and productive manner; (2) publish book-length manuscripts to capture greater interest; (3) present findings at national conferences and smaller seminars; (4) teach undergraduate courses on psychology that include an examination of trauma and dissociation; and (5) conduct systematic research on DD. The first Spanish article of dissociation, which reviewed the main characteristics of dissociative patients, was published by a major psychological/psychiatric journal in Latin America in 1986. By 1995, a group of psychologists and psychiatrists began to conduct more systematic research on dissociation, which resulted in part in the first use of the Dissociative Experiences Scale (DES) in Puerto Rico in 1995. The next year, the American Journal of Psychotherapy published a research paper about 2 clinical cases of DD in Puerto Rico and in 1997 a rigorous examination of the use of the DES was conducted with 198 undergraduate students from the University of Puerto Rico. More recently, research has been conducted on a short form of the Adolescent Dissociative Experiences Scale (ADES) with Puerto Rican populations, which was found to exhibit satisfactory internal consistency, test-retest reliability, and convergent validity. Another study, conducted in 2000, surveyed licensed Puerto Rican psychologists on their attitudes, beliefs, and experiences with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). Tables, references


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