Features of Depersonalization: An Examination and Expansion of the Cognitive-Behavioral Model

Leanne Quigley, Jonathan T. Warren, Courtney Townsend

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Depersonalization–derealization disorder, and the experience of depersonalization more broadly, is understudied and poorly understood. This study aimed to contribute to the empirical knowledge of depersonalization by evaluating the relationships between depersonalization symptoms and hypothesized vulnerability factors for and/or correlates of depersonalization based on prior theoretical and empirical literature. A general population sample of adults residing in the United States (N = 277) were recruited via Qualtrics and completed self-report questionnaires measuring depersonalization symptoms, general distress, private self-consciousness, anxiety sensitivity, lack of cognitive confidence, beliefs about the need to control thoughts, perseverative negative thinking, frequency and suppression of positive and negative emotion, alexithymia, overcontrolled personality, unconsolidated identity, and lack of identity, in randomized order. The results of multiple regression analyses indicated that depersonalization symptoms were significantly associated with greater levels of private self-consciousness, anxiety sensitivity, need to control thoughts, lack of cognitive confidence, perseverative thinking, frequency of negative emotion, frequency of positive emotion, suppression of positive emotion, alexithymia, and lack of identity, controlling for general distress. When also controlling for shared variance between the clinical variables, depersonalization symptoms remained significantly associated with greater lack of identity and frequency of negative emotion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPsychology of Consciousness: Theory Research, and Practice
StateAccepted/In press - 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Cognitive-behavioral model
  • Depersonalization
  • Derealization
  • Dissociation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology


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