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PTSD: National Center for PTSD

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Dissociative Subtype of PTSD Scale (DSPS)

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Dissociative Subtype of PTSD Scale (DSPS)

Description

The DSPS is a 15-item measure that assesses lifetime and past-month (current) dissociative symptoms, including symptoms that define the DSM-5 definition of the dissociative subtype of PTSD. The measure has a branching structure such that individuals are first asked if they have ever (in their lifetime) experienced a given symptom and then asked if that symptom has been present in the past month.

If the symptom has been present in the past month, the frequency of the symptom is then rated on a 1-4 scale and the intensity of the symptom is rated on a 1-5 scale. The extent to which a given symptom has occurred exclusively in the context of use of medications or drugs that made the individual very tired or drowsy is also assessed.

The DSPS can be administered as a self-report measure or a semi-structured interview.

Scoring

The scale is comprised of three subscales: Derealization/Depersonalization, Loss of Awareness, and Psychogenic Amnesia. Current and lifetime scores on each sub-scale can be derived per the scoring instructions. Only the Derealization/Depersonalization subscale has been shown to differentiate the DSM-5 dissociative subtype of PTSD. The two other scales reflect clinically relevant forms of dissociation that may become the focus of additional assessment and/or treatment.

Sample Item

  • Item: Have there been times when you felt like you were watching the world around you as an outsider, as if it were a movie, and the world did not seem real?
  • Response: Dichotomous item ("yes" or "no") for lifetime and if so, dichotomous item ("yes" or "no") for past month. If respondent answers "yes" for past month, additional questions for frequency (Likert-type scale: 1-4) and intensity (Likert-type scale: 1-5) are included.

References

Wolf, E. J., Mitchell, K. S., Sadeh, N., Hein, C., Fuhrman, I., Pietrzak, R. H., & Miller, M. W. (in press). The Dissociative Subtype of PTSD Scale (DSPS): Initial evaluation in a national sample of trauma-exposed Veterans. Assessment.

To Obtain Scale

This measure was created by staff at VA's National Center for PTSD.

Download the Dissociative Subtype of PTSD Scale:

Are you using this measure with U.S. Veterans or Servicemembers?

Our PTSD Consultation Program can answer administration or scoring questions: PTSDconsult@va.gov or 866-948-7880.

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Measure availability: We provide information on a variety of measures assessing trauma and PTSD. These measures are intended for use by qualified mental health professionals and researchers. Measures authored by National Center staff are available as direct downloads or by request. Measures developed outside of the National Center can be requested via contact information available on the information page for the specific measure.

Get help for PTSD

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PTSD Information Voice Mail:
(802) 296-6300
ncptsd@va.gov
Also see: VA Mental Health