BACKGROUND: DSM-IV continues to classify conversion disorder separately from the
dissociative disorders, together with the somatoform disorders. This is done on the basis
that conversion disorder presents with bodily symptoms, whereas the dissociative disorders
concern mental symptoms. It remains a clinical research question, though, whether
symptoms of conversion disorder and the dissociative disorders overlap in their clinical
presentation as has been maintained by lCD-lOin which conversion disorder belongs to
the group of dissociative [conversion] disorders.
METHODS: In a sample of 130 clinical and non-clinical participants, conversion items
and dissociative items (as measured by the State Scale of Dissociation / SSD) were
examined by Pearson correlation coefficients, principal components factor analyses,
and confidence intervals.
RESULTS: The conversion symptoms clustered with the other dissociative symptoms on
the one general factor that ran through the entire SSD, accounting for 61 % of the
variance. Conversion symptoms correlated highly significantly with the total SSD
score, and further behaved like the other dissociative symptoms in their presentation in
dissociative disorders, as compared with other psychiatric disorders and control
CONCLUSION: Conversion symptoms are closely related clinically to other dissociative
symptoms. Thus, these results support the ICD-I 0 categorisation of conversion disorder
among dissociative disorders. Notwithstanding these results, other ways to differentiate
between conversion disorder and the dissociative disorders may still have merit. For
example, a study of the neurophysiological correlates of dissociative and conversion
symptoms might elucidate the merits ofthis differentiation.