Title of Abstract

Dissociative Identity Disorder: The Media and Malingering

Poster Number

42

Submitting Student(s)

Josephine Chestnut

Session Title

Poster Session 2

Faculty Sponsor (for work done with a non-Winthrop mentor)

Darren Ritzer, Ph.D.

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Department

Psychology

Abstract

Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) is defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders as “disruption of identity characterized by two or more distinct personality states, which may be described in some cultures as an experience of possession.” A recent slew of social media and forum posts on sites like TikTok, with popular hashtags “#didfaker” and “#didfaking”, and Reddit, with a forum titled “r/fakedisordercringe” (208k members and counting) have been produced declaring the existence of a booming community of individuals fabricating presentation of the illness. Interests in DID will be examined in order to take a professional approach to these claims, exploring the disorder as a potential “diagnostic fad” through the use of Google Trends software. While physical ailments are often easy to diagnose due to visible symptoms, mental illnesses often lack the same hard evidence, making cases of malingering or subconscious imitation more difficult to discern. Incidence of or malingering of DID could be on the rise for any number of reasons, if on the rise at all. The four variables examined in the present research are popular media, academic interest, general interest, and possession interest (interest in having DID). I posit that popular media will produce a rise in general interest in DID, which will, in turn, produce a rise in possession interest, and that academic interest will indeed rise, but independently of popular media, general interest, and possession interest.

Start Date

15-4-2022 12:00 PM

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Apr 15th, 12:00 PM

Dissociative Identity Disorder: The Media and Malingering

Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) is defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders as “disruption of identity characterized by two or more distinct personality states, which may be described in some cultures as an experience of possession.” A recent slew of social media and forum posts on sites like TikTok, with popular hashtags “#didfaker” and “#didfaking”, and Reddit, with a forum titled “r/fakedisordercringe” (208k members and counting) have been produced declaring the existence of a booming community of individuals fabricating presentation of the illness. Interests in DID will be examined in order to take a professional approach to these claims, exploring the disorder as a potential “diagnostic fad” through the use of Google Trends software. While physical ailments are often easy to diagnose due to visible symptoms, mental illnesses often lack the same hard evidence, making cases of malingering or subconscious imitation more difficult to discern. Incidence of or malingering of DID could be on the rise for any number of reasons, if on the rise at all. The four variables examined in the present research are popular media, academic interest, general interest, and possession interest (interest in having DID). I posit that popular media will produce a rise in general interest in DID, which will, in turn, produce a rise in possession interest, and that academic interest will indeed rise, but independently of popular media, general interest, and possession interest.