Improving the psychometric properties of the dissociative experiences scale (DES-II): A Rasch validation study

A. Saggino, Giorgia Molinengo*, Guyonne Rogier, Carlo Garofalo, Barbara Loera, M. Tommasi, P. Velotti

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The Dissociative Experiences Scale-II (DES-II) is a self-report questionnaire that measures dissociative experiences such as derealization, depersonalization, absorption and amnesia. The DES-II has been prevalently used as a screening tool in patients suffering from psychotic disorders or schizophrenia. However, dissociative experiences can also be part of normal psychological life. Despite its popularity, the most problematic aspect of the DES-II is the inconsistency in its factor structure, which is probably due to the tendency to treat ordinal responses as responses on an interval scale, as it is assumed in the Classical Test Theory approach. In order to address issues related to the inconsistency of previous results, the aim of the present study was to collect new psychometric evidence to improve the properties of the DES-II using Rasch analysis, i.e. analyzing the functioning of the response scale.

Data were obtained on a sample composed by 320 Italian participants (122 inmates and 198 community-dwelling individuals) and were analyzed with the Rasch model. This model allows the estimation of participants’ level of dissociation, the degree of misfit of each item, the reliability of each item, and their measurement invariance. Moreover, Rasch estimation allows to determine the best response scale, in terms of response modalities number and their discriminant power.

Three items of the scale had strong misfit. After their deletion, the resulting scale was composed by 25 items, which had low levels of misfit and high reliability, and showed measurement invariance. Participants tended to select more often lower categories of the response scale.

Results provided new knowledge on the DES-II structure and its psychometric properties, contributing to the understanding and measurement of the dissociation construct.
Original languageEnglish
Article number8
Number of pages10
JournalBMC Psychiatry
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Category response rating
  • Dissociative experiences
  • Item response theory
  • Offenders

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