Category: PTSD

Symposium

Affect Labeling and Script-Driven Imagery Following Trauma Exposure

Sunday, November 19
10:15 AM - 11:45 AM
Location: Sapphire Ballroom O & P, Level 4, Sapphire Level

Keywords: Stress | Exposure
Presentation Type: Symposium

While a number of empirically-supported trauma-focused treatments have been developed these treatments are neither widely available nor universally efficacious.  The current study translates a traditional assessment technique, Script-Driven Imagery (SDI), into a computerized training for individuals with elevated trauma reactivity.  The imaginal-exposure based training was supplemented with Affect Labeling to determine whether linguistic inhibitory regulation augmented the effects. Participants (n=66) were college students and community members with trauma-related distress and were randomized to one of three conditions: imaginal exposure to individualized traumatic events (SDI-T), exposure plus Affect Labeling (SDI-T+AL), or exposure plus an active linguistic control condition, Distract Labeling (SDI-T+DL).  There was a significant effect of Time (z= -4.44, p.001, Hedges’ g=.45) but no main effect of Condition (omnibus χ2=2.40, p=.30) or Time × Condition interaction on PTSD Symptoms (omnibus χ2=.76, p=.68). Tests of the PTSD symptom slopes revealed that whereas both SDI-T+AL and SDI-T+DL were significantly less than 0 (p.01), the SDI-T slope was not (p=.06). There was a significant effect of Time (z=-3.84, p.001, Hedges’ g=.530), but there was no effect of Condition (χ2=1.40, p=.4957) or Time × Condition interaction (χ2=4.86, p=.0882) on amplitude of EMG during trauma imagination.  EMG simple slopes were significantly negative for SDI-T+AL (p.001) and DL (p.01) but not significant for SDI-T (p=.492).  The DL slope was significantly steeper than SDI-T (p.05), but no other differences were found in pairwise comparisons across conditions (all ps>.05).  Collapsing SDI-T+AL and DL into a Label condition compared to SDI-T yielded a Time × Condition interaction (p.05).  This study provides initial support for the acceptability and efficacy of this self-guided computerized training for trauma reactivity.  There is preliminary evidence that general labeling confers benefit over exposure alone.

Lily A. Brown

Assistant Professor of Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry
University of Pennsylvania

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