Dissociative disorders usually develop as a way to cope with trauma.  The disorders most often form in children subjected to long-term physical, sexual or emotional abuse or, less often, a home environment that's frightening or highly unpredictable.  The stress of war or natural disasters also can bring on dissociative disorders.

Personal identity is still forming during childhood. So a child is more able than an adult is to step outside of himself or herself and observe trauma as though it's happening to a different person. A child who learns to dissociate in order to endure an extended period of youth may use this coping mechanism in response to stressful situations throughout life.

Mar. 26, 2014