First Advisor

Karlyn Adams-Wiggins

Date of Award

Spring 6-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Psychology and University Honors






Multiple personality -- Research, Multiple personality -- Treatment, Psychic trauma in children




Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), previously referred to as Multiple Personalities Disorder, has been historically misrepresented in the media and excluded from professional training. This literature review describes the information presented in various research studies to illustrate what DID is, the theoretical models that have been used in application to DID, the role of childhood trauma, as well as successful treatment methods and accessibility of resources. In understanding DID, it is necessary to look at the disorder’s prevalence, background, and major symptoms of amnesia and switching between personality states. The theoretical models that will be covered include the Sociocognitive/Fantasy Model and the Trauma Model, as well as the neurobiological perspectives that support the link between trauma and the development of DID. An overarching theme in the literature reviewed was the recognition of the Trauma Model of DID as the dominant theorization. As such, childhood trauma arises as a significant topic in the understanding of DID symptom development. There are various treatment methods used in application to DID, but a common theme within the literature reviewed was the goal of identity integration, which implies communication and better functioning between alters. The research question going into this review was "What does the existing literature tell us about Dissociative Identity Disorder and its treatments and origin?". More extensive research in this area would not only improve DID patients' accessibility to treatment but also decrease the misconceptions and stigmas that are perpetuated in society and social media.


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