Traumatic experiences and dissociation in a non-clinical group of university students in Ecuador: a cross-sectional study
Background: In Ecuador, as in most Latin American countries, scientific research on trauma and dissociation is scarce. The aim of this study was to examine the prevalence of potentially traumatic experiences and dissociative symptoms in adolescents and young adults who were students at the Central University in Quito, Ecuador.
Methods: A cross-sectional study in which 144 students completed a self-administrated questionnaire consisting of Linköping Youth Life Experience Scale (LYLES), Adolescent-Dissociation Experience Scale (A-DES ) and background variables. Data collection was conducted in autumn 2012. Standard multiple regression analysis was used to analyse the data.
Results: All students reported a history of a minimum of five potentially traumatic experiences with a mean of 14.8. Eight participants (5.6%) scored above 3.7 on the Adolescent-Dissociation Experience Scale, which is considered clinically significant dissociation. No correlation was found between high scores on LYLES and A-DES.
Conclusions: The prevalence of potentially traumatic experiences in the study population is very high compared to studies conducted in high-income settings. The low prevalence of dissociation suggests high resilience in the study population but more research on morbidity is needed to draw conclusions about mental health outcomes. Further research should include study populations in less advantageous contexts.