Peritraumatic dissociation and posttraumatic stress symptoms: the moderating role of perceived threat

Sarah Bøgelund Dokkedahl, Yael Lahav

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Although peritraumatic dissociation (PD) is viewed as a risk factor for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), prospective studies taking into account other well-known risk factors for PTSD have been scarce, and the exploration of potential moderators within the relations between PD and PTSD has been lacking. Objective: Filling this gap, this prospective study explored the moderating role of perceived threat within the relations between PD and PTSD, above and beyond age, gender, education, and early trauma-related symptoms. Method: A convenience sample of 200 Israeli civilians filled out self-report questionnaires during the peritraumatic phase (T1) and one to two months after the posttraumatic phase (T2) of being exposed to rocket attacks. Results: The results showed that perceived threat and PD were associated with early trauma-related symptoms and PTSD symptoms. Moreover, perceived threat moderated the relationship between PD and all PTSD symptom clusters apart from avoidance. Conclusions: The present results suggest that the implications of PD are shaped by levels of perceived threat, so that detriments of PD are evident when the trauma is appraised as being highly threatening. Therefore, early interventions that aim to decrease PD may be beneficial in preventing PTSD symptoms of intrusion, hyper arousal, and negative alterations in mood and cognition, for individuals who perceive traumatic events as highly threatening.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2338670
JournalEuropean Journal of Psychotraumatology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2024


  • PTSD
  • Perceived threat
  • peritraumatic dissociation
  • trauma
  • war

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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