Dissociation and the processing of threat-related information

Glenn Waller, Stephanie Quinton, Derrick Watson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


It is well established that dissociation is a clinically important phenomenon. However, relatively little is known about the cognitive processes that underpin that phenomenon. It is suggested that dissociation reflects a characteristic pattern of processing information about present or past threat. Using a novel computer-driven task, this study examines the association between dissociation and the processing of threat-related information in a group of 105 non-clinical women. The results show that women with higher levels of dissociation (particularly absorption) take longer to respond to threatening information, even though the task might be expected to produce faster processing. A model of cognitive processing is suggested, in which dissociation is characterized by secondary schemata that are specifically unrelated to the threatening information. Further research is needed to test and extend this model especially with clinical subjects.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)84-90
Number of pages7
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1995


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