Journal of Near-Death Studies, volume 12, issue 2
The Near-Death Experience as a Dissociative Phenomenon: An Empirical Assessment
Irwin, H. J.
Many commentators, particularly those working in a psychiatric framework, interpret the near-death experience as a dissociative phenomenon. The present study sought to assess the hypothesis that near-death experiencers are characterized by a dissociative response style engendered by severely traumatic childhood experiences. A postal survey of 121 Australian university students failed to identify a dissociative response style in experiencers, but these people did evidence a distinctive history of traumatic events in childhood. An attempt is made to reconcile these seemingly paradoxical findings.