Assessing responsiveness to direct verbal suggestions in depersonalization-derealization disorder

L. S.Merritt Millman*, Elaine C.M. Hunter, Anthony S. David, Guido Orgs, Devin B. Terhune

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The dissociative disorders and germane conditions are reliably characterized by elevated responsiveness to direct verbal suggestions. However, it remains unclear whether atypical responsiveness to suggestion is similarly present in depersonalization-derealization disorder (DDD). 55 DDD patients and 36 healthy controls completed a standardised behavioural measure of direct verbal suggestibility that includes a correction for compliant responding (BSS-C), and psychometric measures of depersonalization-derealization (CDS), mindfulness (FFMQ), imagery vividness (VVIQ), and anxiety (GAD-7). Relative to controls, patients did not exhibit elevated suggestibility (g = 0.26, BF10 =.11) but displayed significantly lower mindfulness (g = 1.38), and imagery vividness (g = 0.63), and significantly greater anxiety (g = 1.39). Although suggestibility did not correlate with severity of depersonalization-derealization symptoms in controls, r = -.03 [95% CI: -.36,.30], there was a weak tendency for a positive association in patients, r =.25, [95% CI: -.03,.48]. Exploratory analyses revealed that patients with more severe anomalous bodily experiences were also more responsive to suggestion, an effect not seen in controls. This study demonstrates that DDD is not characterized by elevated responsiveness to direct verbal suggestions. These results have implications for the aetiology and treatment of this condition, as well as its classification as a dissociative disorder in psychiatric nosology.

Original languageEnglish
Article number114730
JournalPsychiatry Research
Volume315
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022

Keywords

  • Clinical psychology
  • Depersonalization-derealization disorder
  • Dissociative
  • Heterogeneity
  • Suggestibility

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