Shutdown Dissociation Scale (SHUT-D)

Introduced in 2011, the Shutdown Dissociation Scale (SHUT-D) serves as a semi-structured interview designed for the assessment of dissociative responses following traumatic stress. Grounded in the defense cascade model, the SHUT-D evaluates biological symptoms emblematic of the body’s innate freeze, fight/flight, fright, and flag/faint reactions to trauma. This scale is instrumental in understanding the physiological aspects of dissociation, particularly how the body and mind react to reminders of trauma.

Research involving individuals with various dissociation disorders indicates a noteworthy correlation: the presence of childhood trauma, rather than trauma encountered in adulthood, has a significant impact on SHUT-D scores. This finding emphasizes the critical role of early experiences in shaping dissociative responses.

The SHUT-D questionnaire mirrors the original interview’s format, employing identical questions and scoring methods. However, its effectiveness when used without the direct input and interpretation of a clinician or researcher remains unverified. Users of this test may require a baseline of medical knowledge to accurately distinguish between symptoms attributable to dissociative responses and those resulting from neurological conditions. This adaptation ensures the SHUT-D Scale’s relevance in both clinical and research contexts, facilitating the exploration of dissociation and its ties to trauma.

There are 13 questions. These questions have been designed for adults and cover experiences within the last 6 months or in the months since the trauma occurred (for people who have experienced only a single trauma that occurred less than 6 month before).

Symptoms known to be caused by an “acute or chronic medical condition or peripheral neuropathy”, alcohol or drug use, medication side-effects, or similar effects during adolescence or the beginning of the menopause should be excluded.

  Not at all once a week or less 2-4 time a week 5 or more times a week
1. Have you fainted?
Have you been passing out?
2. Have you felt dizzy and has your vision gone black?
Felt dizzy and couldn’t see anymore, as though you were blind?
3. Have you felt as though you couldn’t hear for a while, as though you were deaf?
When people were talking to you, did they sound far away?
4. Have you had an experience of not being able to properly see things around you (blurred vision for example)?
5. Have you felt as though your body or a part of your body has gone numb?
6. Have you felt as though you couldn’t move for a while, as though you were paralyzed?
7. Have you felt as though your body, or a part of it was insensitive to pain (analgesia)?
8. Have you been in a state in which your body suddenly felt heavy and tired?
9. Have you experienced that your body becoming stiff for a while?
10. Have you felt nauseous?
Have you felt as though you were about to throw up? Have you felt yourself break out in a cold sweat?
11. Have you had an “out-of-body” sensation?
Have you felt as though you were outside of your body?
12. Have you had moments in which you have found yourself unable to speak?
Have you been able to speak only with great effort?
Have you had an experience in which you could only whisper for a period of time?
13. Have you felt suddenly weak and warm?
  1. I Schalinski, M Schauer, T Elbert. The Shutdown Dissociation Scale (SHUT-D). Euro. J. of Psychotraumatology, 6(0) ().