Depersonalisation is a complex dissociative phenomenon characterised by feeling "unreal" or detached from one's own emotions, thoughts and behaviour (APA, 2013) and it is considered a defence mechanism employed in response to overwhelming situations, whereby emotions are suppressed in order to increase alertness. DP is the third most common symptom following depression and anxiety, and has been found to be comorbid within these presentations. Childhood emotional maltreatment (EM) has been identified as a vulnerability factor. The key aim of this study was to examine the mediating role of DP in the relationship between childhood EM and later psychological distress in young adults. In addition, other psychological factors related to DP were explored: current attachment and emotional expression.
Method: This study included young adults (N=761) aged 18-25 years, who completed an online survey that comprised a number of self report measures. Regression and mediation analyses were conducted.
Results: The main results indicated that: DP significantly mediated childhood Em-current psychological distress relationship and; EM, attachment-related anxiety and negative attitudes towards emotional expression predicted clinical cut-off levels of DP. Conclusion: The main finding suggested that young popped who have a history of EM are more likely to experience higher levels of psychological distress via depersonalisation.