Alleged Abuse in DID
Otnow-Lewis, Yeager, Swica, Pincus, and Lewis,M. (1997) conducted research which sought to verify dissociative symptoms and alleged abuse of a group of individuals diagnosed with DID.Their study included 11 men and one woman who had been previously convicted on murder charges.The study included an objective verification of childhood abuse and dissociative symptoms.Family and childhood friends were interviewed and the various records were reviewed (police, social service, psychiatric, etc.) in an attempt to verify that the symptoms were present before the murders and that childhood abuse did actually occur (Otnow-Lewis et al., 1997).
After Otnow-Lewis and colleagues (1997) completed the various interviews and review of the records, the researchers were able to objectively verify dissociative symptoms in all 12 of the participants, as well as extreme childhood abuse in 11 of the 12 participants.A common belief about dissociative identity disorder is that people “fake” the symptoms or false memories are produced during the course of therapy.However, with these 12 participants, this was not the case.None of the murderers that took part in this study were even aware of their psychiatric condition and remembered very little, if anything of their childhood. The participants either had total or partial amnesia for the abuse that had occurred during their childhood.These individuals either claimed that the abuse never occurred or minimized the abuse.There was not one individual in this study that produced a memory concerning abuse that the researchers were not able to objectively verify (Otnow-Lewis et al., 1997).Another controversy concerning DID is the high prevalence of the disorder in North America.