Document Detail


Dissociation in people who have near-death experiences: out of their bodies or out of their minds?
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  10841127     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Abstract/OtherAbstract:
BACKGROUND: Some people who come close to death report having experiences in which they transcend the boundaries of the ego and the confines of time and space. Such near-death experiences (NDEs) share some features with the phenomenon of dissociation, in which a person's self identity becomes detached from bodily sensation. This study explored the frequency of dissociative symptoms in people who had come close to death. METHODS: 96 individuals who had had self-reported NDEs, and 38 individuals who had come close to death but who had not had NDEs completed a mailed questionnaire that included a measure of "depth" of near-death experience (the NDE scale) and a measure of dissociative symptoms (the Dissociative Experiences Scale). Median scores in the two groups were compared with Mann-Whitney U tests. The association between depth of NDE and dissociative symptoms was tested by Spearman's rank-order correlation between scores on the NDE scale and the dissociative experiences scale. FINDINGS: People who reported NDEs also reported significantly more dissociative symptoms than did the comparison group. Among those who reported NDEs, the depth of the experience was positively correlated with dissociative symptoms, although the level of symptoms was substantially lower than that of patients with pathological dissociative disorders. INTERPRETATION: The pattern of dissociative symptoms reported by people who have had NDEs is consistent with a non-pathological dissociative response to stress, and not with a psychiatric disorder. A greater understanding of the mechanism of dissociation may shed further light on near-death and other mystical or transcendental experiences.
Authors:
B Greyson
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Lancet     Volume:  355     ISSN:  0140-6736     ISO Abbreviation:  Lancet     Publication Date:  2000 Feb 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2000-07-25     Completed Date:  2000-07-25     Revised Date:  2006-11-15    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  2985213R     Medline TA:  Lancet     Country:  ENGLAND    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  460-3     Citation Subset:  AIM; IM    
Affiliation:
Department of Psychiatric Medicine, University of Virginia Health System, Charlottesville 22908-0152, USA. cbg4d@virginia.edu
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MeSH Terms
Descriptor/Qualifier:
Consciousness Disorders / psychology
Death*
Dissociative Disorders* / epidemiology,  psychology
Female
Humans
Male
Middle Aged
Stress, Psychological / psychology

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine


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