According to Reyes (2009), the origin of multiple personality disorder is believed to be the result of psychological trauma, such as chronic physical or sexual abuse, in childhood. Women are more likely than are men to experience sexual abuse (Mayo Clinic, 2008). Women are at more risk for being physically, sexually, and emotionally abused. This can be a big factor why women are at more risk for developing multiple personality disorder.
According to Ernest & Allen (2006), “in American society, girls learn to internalize their problems, and boys learn to externalize them.” Perhaps the sociocultural forces of our society teach women to “bottle up” their emotions. This can easily become a predisposition to developing any psychological disorder. The more a woman bottles up her emotions, the more those emotions need to be expressed. Such pressure on a woman could make her more at risk for developing multiple personality disorder.
There are many biological factors behind psychological disorders for women. Obviously, hormones have a huge factor in the biological aspect of why women are more prone to multiple personality disorder. Premenstrual syndromes are also another biological factor that women have to face. Women experience hormone fluctuations before their menstrual cycle, and a select few suffer from Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, a more severe form of PMS. Researchers believe that recurring changes in estrogen, progesterone and other hormones have the ability to disturb the function of brain chemicals that affect mood. Pregnancy is also a factor when one reviews the biological factors that may be behind the risk factors for developing multiple personality disorder. Lastly, perimenopause and menopause can be the culprit of depression among women. Hormone fluctuations during this crucial time are also a factor that may contribute to the risk of developing multiple personality disorder. Another factor is the insomnia that may accompany menopause, which can definitely affect a woman’s mood in a negative way.
One will never know for sure why women are more prone to developing multiple personality disorder; but it is in my opinion that the risk of abuse, sociocultural factors, and hormone changes are at the root of why women are more prone to the disease than men.
Mayo Clinic. (2008). Depression. Retrieved February 11, 2009, from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/depression/MH00035.
Reyes, A. (2000). “Dissociative Identity Disorder - Multiple Personality Disorder.” Retrieved February 11, 2009, from http://www.medicineonline.com/articles/d/2/Dissociative-Identity-Disorder/Multiple-Personality-Disorder/info/Overview-Causes-&-Risk-Factors.html.
Ernest & Allen (1996). “Dual Personality, Multiple Personality, Dissociative Identity Disorder - What's in a Name?” Retrieved February 11, 2009, from http://www.dissociation.com/index/definition/