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Amnesia in Various Other Victim Populations
DID/Trauma/Memory Reference List
Amnesia in Various Other Victim Populations

Amnesia in Various Other Victim Populations
In every study that actually looked at amnesia, it was found. There was not a single study that actually asked about amnesia that did not find some segment of the trauma population who experienced it. Many articles on PTSD were concerned with broadly categorized symptoms such as intrusion and avoidance. Few studies actually asked about amnesia in large sample studies until recently. Reports of amnesia were generally (but not always) given as case studies. 


Kaszniak, AW, Nussbaum, PD, Berren, MR, & Santiago, JM. (1988). Amnesia as a consequence of male rape: A case report. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 97, 100-104.



 Eriksson, N-G, Lundin, T. (1996). Early traumatic stress reactions among Swedish survivors of the MS Estonia disaster. British Journal of Psychiatry, 169, (6), 713-716.

42 survivors. 43% had emotional numbing; 55% had reduction in awareness; 67% had derealization; 33% had depersonalization; and 29% had dissociative amnesia. All dissociative symptoms were predictive of posttraumatic reactions. This study substantiates the importance of assessing dissociative symptoms during a life threatening event as a possible predictor for later posttraumatic reactions and possible PTSD.



 Carlier, IVE, & Gersons, BPR (1997). Stress reactions in disaster victims following the Bijlmermeer plane crash. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 10 (2), 329-336.
           1992 El Al 747 crash into an Amsterdam apartment complex. 9% experienced amnesia.


Levy, RA. (1987). A method for the recovery of mishap related events lost to amnesia. Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine, 58(3), 257-259.



 Cardena, E. & Spiegel, D. (1993). Dissociative reactions to the San Francisco Bay Area earthquake of 1989. American Journal of Psychiatry, 150(3), 474-478.
            Amnesia and memory disruption found. Peritraumatic dissociation predicted PTSD.

 Madakasira, S, & O'Brien, K. (1987). Acute posttraumatic stress disorders in victims of natural disaster. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 175, 286-290.
           Amnesia mentioned as component of acute stress.

Shore, JH, Tatum, EL, & Vollmer, WM (1986). Psychiatric reactions to disaster: The Mount St. Helen's experience. American Journal of Psychiatry, 143, 590-595.



Wilkinson, CB. (1983). Aftermath of a disaster: The collapse of the Hyatt Regency Hotel skywalks. American Journal of Psychiatry, 140, 1134-1139.



Kinzie (1986). (children in Cambodian concentration camps). Journal of the American Academy of Child Psychiatry, 25, 370-376.

Children have "poor recall or difficulty in recalling". 58% "avoided" memories of Cambodia. The authors, who do not discuss memory, note that massive avoidance and denial were very helpful in helping the children cope and the major factor in helping the children avoid severe PTSD was family.



Carlson, E. (Nov, 1991). Trauma experiences, posttraumatic stress, dissociation and depression in Cambodian refugees. American Journal of Psychiatry, 148 (11), 1548-1551.
            50 female and 24 male refugees randomly selected from 500 throughout the US. Although only 1 in 50 had received professional mental health intervention, 86% met DSM-III-R criteria for PTSD.. Mean DES score was 37.1 (Range, 9.3-88.6, SD, 16.1). Only two in the sample had a DES in the normal range. The mean of 37.1 was exceeded in PTSD samples of veterans in only 1 (Branscomb, 1991) out of 5 such studies. "There was a high rate of dissociative symptoms in this group, but such symptoms are seldom noted or studied in trauma victims." The distribution of this sample of above average DES scores "supports the view that dissociation is a universal response to traumatic experiences."

Carlson, E., & Rosser-Hogan, R. (April, 1993). Mental health status of Cambodian refugees ten years after leaving their homes. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 63(2), 223-231.
            "90% reported amnesia for upsetting events."

Kinzie, JD. (1993). Posttraumatic effects and their treatment among Southeast Asian refugees. In JP Wilson & B. Raphael. (Eds.). International handbook of traumatic stress syndromes, pp. 311-319. New York: Plenum Press.


Goldfeld, AE, Mollica, RF, Pesavento, BH, et al. (1988). The physical and psychological sequelae of torture: Symptomatology and diagnosis. Journal of the American Medical Association, 259, 2725-2729.
            Reports on 4 studies of torture victims with memory loss/disturbance (does not specifically discuss or look for amnesia: Allodi & Cowgill (1982) N=42, 29% (12); Rasmussen & Lunde, (1980) N=135, 45% (61); Domovitch et al (1984) N=98, 38% (37); and Amesty International Human Rights Missions to Uganda, Greece, Chile, Iraq, Egypt, and Northern Ireland: N=19, 32% (6).

Ramsay, R., Gorst-Unsworth, C, & Turner, S. (1993). Psychiatric morbidity in survivors of state organized violence including torture: A retrospective series. British Journal of Psychiatry, 162, 55-59.

van Velsen, C, Gorst-Unsworth, C, & Turner, S. (1996). Survivors of torture and organized violence: Demography and Diagnosis. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 9(2), 181-194.
            N=60. Amnesia in 11% without sexual torture and in 13% with sexual torture.


El-Rayes, MES. (1982). Traumatic war neuroses: Egyptian experience. Journal of the Royal Army Medical Corps, 128, 67-71.



Culpin, M. (1940). Mode of onset of the neuroses of war. In E. Miller (Ed.). The neuroses of war, pps. 33-54. New York: Macmillan.

Geleerd, ER, Hacker, FJ, Rapaport, D. (1945). Contributions to the study of amnesia and allied conditions. Psychological Quarterly, 14, 199-220.

Grinker, RR, & Spiegel, JP. (1945). Men under Stress. Philadelphia: Blakiston.  

Karon, BP, & Widerner, AJ. (1997). Repressed memory in World War II Veterans. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 28(4), 338-340.
Psychologists who worked for the VA in WW II documented hundreds of cases of repressed memory in troops returning from battle. Includes citation of a report of 20 cases by Charles Fisher in The Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 14, 4437-4468. "The war neuroses of WW II provide ample evidence that repression does indeed occur, and that the recovery of these traumatic memories and their related effects led to remission of symptoms."

Kubie, LS. (1943). Manual of emergency treatment for acute war neuroses. War Medicine, 4, 582-599.

Myers, LS. (January, 1915). A contribution to the study of shell-shock. Lancet, 316-320.  

Sargent, W., & Slater, E. (1941). Amnesic syndromes in war. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Medicine, 34, 757-764.
Amnesia and dissociative fugue occurred in 5-14.4% Of WW II combat veterans (n=1000). As many of 35% of soldiers in the most severe combat had amnesia for these events.

Thom, DA & Fenton, N. (1920). Amnesias in war cases. American Journal of Insanity, 76, 437-448.



Archibald, HC, & Tuddenham, RD. (1965). Persistent stress reaction after combat. Archives of General Psychiatry, 12, 475-481.

Blank, AS. (1985). The unconscious flashback to the war in Vietnam veterans: Clinical mystery, legal defence, and community problem. In SM Sonneberg, AS Blank, & JA Talbott. (Eds.). The trauma of war: Stress and recovery in Vietnam Veterans. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Press.

Branscomb, LP (1991). Dissociation in combat-related post-traumatic stress disorder. Dissociation, 4, 13-20.

Bremner, JD, Southwick, S, Brett, E., Fontana, A., Rosenheck, R., & Charney, DS. (1992). Dissociation and posttraumatic stress disorder in Vietnam combat veterans. American Journal of Psychiatry, 149, 328-332.  

Bremner, JD, Steinberg, M, Southwick, SM, Johnson, DR, & Charney, DS. (1993). Use of the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Dissociative Disorders for systematic assessment of dissociative symptoms in PTSD. American Journal of Psychiatry, 150(7), 1011-1014.
40 Vietnam vets with PTSD and 15 without PTSD were assessed. PTSD patients had more severe dissociative symptoms. Amnesia was the symptom area of greatest difference in scores between PTSD and non-PTSD subjects.

Brende, JO, & Benedict, BD. (1980). The Vietnam combat delayed stress syndrome: Hypnotherapy of "dissociative symptoms." American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 23, 34-40.

Hendin, H., Haas, AP, & Singer, P. (1984). The reliving experience in Vietnam veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder. American Journal of Psychiatry, 146,490-495.



Wong, CK (1990). Too shameful to remember: a 17 year old Chinese boy with psychogenic amnesia. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 24, 570-574.


VARIOUS POPULATIONS DISCUSSED: Holocaust, War, Accident, Natural Disaster, Childhood Physical and Sexual Abuse, Patients with DID.

Lowenstein, R. J. (1991). Psychogenic amnesia and psychogenic fugue: A comprehensive review. In A. Tasman & S. Goldfinger (Eds). Amercian Psychiatric Press Annual Review of Psychiatry, 10, 189-222. Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Press.

Lowenstein, R.J. (1995). Dissociative amnesia and dissociative fugue. In W. Michaelson & HR Ray (Eds).Handbook of Dissociation. (Second ed., in press). New York: Plenum.

van der Hart, O, & Nijenhuis, E. (1995). Amnesia for traumatic experiences. Hypnos, 22, 73- 86.

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