Dissociative Identity Disorder, Overview
After nearly 70 years of virtually no mention in the medical literature, multiple personality disorder resurfaced in the latter part of the twentieth century, receiving a new name, dissociative identity disorder, and reaching almost epidemic proportions. Between 1922 and 1972, fewer than 50 cases of multiple personality disorder were recorded in the medical literature. By 1990, almost 20,000 cases of dissociative identity disorder had been identified (Showalter, 1997).
Historian and philosopher of science Ian Hacking associated the emergence of dissociative identity disorder with changing interpretations of childhood abuse (Hacking, 1991). In the 1960s “cruelty to children” was reinterpreted as a pathology requiring medical intervention. During this time, multiple personality disorder became linked to childhood abuse. Pierre Janet’s work on dissociation was also rekindled and joined with psychosocial theories of child development to explain the presence of “alter”...
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