Since it is possible to find the definition of complex post-traumatic stress disorder (cPTSD) only in International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11), several studies have used different definitions of “complex PTSD”, consequently very few studies examine the correlation between dissociative symptoms and cPTSD according to the ICD-11definition.
The primary objective of this study was to explore differences in dissociative experiences (measured with Dissociative Experience Scale, DES) between PTSD and cPTSD according to ICD-11 criteria. Furthermore, we examined relations between total and subscales of dissociation (amnesia, absorption, derealization/ depersonalization) and clinical symptomatological variables of PTSD and cPTSD patients. Results showed that 30 subjects affected by cPTSD had significantly higher DES scores than those 20 affected by PTSD, with large effect sizes. Only DES Amnesia subscale is positively correlated with total Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS) score, with Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAM-D) total score, with Impact of Event Scale-Revised (IES-R) Re-Experience subscale and IES-R total score in PTSD sample, while only Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) somatic subscale is related with DES Amnesia subscale and DES Absorption subscale in cPTSD sample. The findings from this study sustain cPTSD as a severe clinical syndrome with higher dissociative symptoms respect to PTSD.