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True JG. An experience-centered approach to combat trauma narratives: exploring the role of disassociation and loss in post-traumatic stress. Paper presented at: American Folklore Society Annual Meeting; 2012 Oct 25; New Orleans, LA.
Experiencing disassociation immediately following a trauma is a strong predictor for subsequent onset of Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS); however the mechanism of effect is not well understood. Drawing on my interviews with veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, I use an experience-centered approach to examine the language used to describe disassociation in the context of a combat trauma. Through a comparison of trauma narratives, I explore whether combat traumas that involve specific types of loss may be a greater trigger for PTS, and suggest possible pathways to help veterans with PTS address these losses.