Spanosmultiples1994-1 - :A NicholasP.Spanos C I T A T I ON...

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Multiple Identity Enactments and  Multiple Personality Disorder: A  Sociocognitive Perspective Nicholas P. Spanos ©  1994 American Psychological Association    CITATION doi:  10.1037/0033-2909.116.1.143    Abstract    People who enact multiple identities behave as if they possess 2 or more selves, each with its own  characteristic moods, memories, and behavioral repertoire. Under different names, this phenomenon  occurs in many cultures: in North American culture, it is frequently labeled multiple personality disorder  (MPD). This article reviews experimental, cross-cultural, historical, and clinical findings concerning  multiplicity and examines the implications of these findings for an understanding of MPD. Multiplicity is  viewed from a sociocognitive perspective, and it is concluded that MPD, like other forms of multiplicity,  is socially constructed. It is context bounded, goal-directed, social behavior geared to the expectations  of significant others, and its characteristics have changed over time to meet changing expectations.    People who receive the diagnosis of multiple personality disorder (MPD) behave as if they possess  two or more distinct identities. They convey the impression of multiplicity by exhibiting a relatively  integrated interpersonal style (i.e., a distinct personality) when calling themselves by one name and  different interpersonal styles when calling themselves by other names. Frequently, MPD patients  behave as if their different identities have their own unique memories and experiences, and many of  the identities claim amnesia for the other personalities with whom they coreside.
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Modern MPD patients are usually women with a wide range of chronic psychiatric problems that  predate their MPD diagnosis ( Coons, Bowman, & Milstein, 1988 Putnam, Guroff, Silberman, Barban,   & Post, 1986 Ross, Norton, & Wozney, 1989 ). These patients usually claim to have been physically or  sexually abused—often horrendously—in childhood ( Coons & Milstein, 1986 Ross, Miller, Bjornson,   Reagor, Fraser, & Anderson, 1991 Young, Sachs, Braun, & Watkins, 1991 ). Moreover, it is now  common for investigators (e.g.,  Bliss, 1986 Braun, 1990 Kluft, 1993 Putnam, 1989 1993 Ross,   1989 ) to argue that MPD is a distinct mental disorder caused by severe childhood abuse. According to  this hypothesis, severe trauma during childhood produces a mental splitting or dissociation as a  defensive reaction to the trauma. These dissociated “parts” of the person develop into alter identities  or personalities that, in adulthood, periodically manifest themselves to help the individual cope with 
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