Keywords: Treatment Development | Veterans | PTSD
Presentation Type: Symposium
A core component of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an inability to effectively down-regulate or inhibit negative affect, including trauma-related distress. At the neural level, research suggests that ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (VLPFC) control over the amygdala may be compromised in PTSD (Falconer et al., 2008). Thus, therapeutic interventions designed to enhance VLPFC-based inhibitory regulation may be particularly beneficial for individuals with PTSD. Affect labeling, the process of labeling the emotional content of or one’s affective response to an external stimulus, has been proposed to enhance inhibitory regulation. Go-NoGo tasks have also been repeatedly found to elicit right VLPFC activity; correct inhibition of the prepotent motor response during NoGo trials requires activation of right VLPFC (e.g., Kelly et al., 2004). The current pilot study examined the effect of inhibitory regulation training on PTSD symptoms and neural reactivity in Veterans with combat-related PTSD. Twenty-three participants were allocated to the training condition, while a subset (n = 7) were allocated to a waitlist condition. All participants completed assessments of PTSD symptoms (PCL-5 and CAPS-5) before and after the training or waitlist period. A subset of participants also completed pre- and post-training fMRI scans to examine changes in neural responding to combat-related stimuli. Participants in the training condition completed six hour-long sessions in a computerized format, which included an affect labeling task and a Go-NoGo task. Multilevel modeling analyses revealed that those in the training condition experienced a significant reduction in PTSD symptoms from pre- to post-training according to both self-report (PCL-5; z = -2.91, p = .004) and clinician assessment (CAPS-5; z = -2.46, p = .014), whereas the waitlist group showed a slight increase in self-reported symptoms (z = 2.29, p = .02) and no change in clinician-assessed symptoms (z = -1.05, p = .29). Neuroimaging results will also be presented. Our findings provide initial evidence that individuals with PTSD may experience symptom reduction from a relatively brief inhibitory regulation training.
Sunday, November 19
10:15 AM – 11:45 AM
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