New Research From Clinical Psychological Science

Read about the latest research published in Clinical Psychological Science:

Pretraumatic Stress Reactions in Soldiers Deployed to Afghanistan

Dorthe Berntsen and David C. Rubin

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) arises from anxiety connected to past events, but anxiety and apprehension about future events are seen in many types of anxiety disorders. This brings up the question of whether people can display pretraumatic stress reactions. The authors of this study created a pretraumatic stress reaction checklist (PreCL) and had Danish soldiers complete it before, during, and after a 6-month deployment to Afghanistan. The PreCL showed internal consistency similar to that of the PTSD checklist. When completed before deployment, the PreCL was a better predictor of PTSD symptoms during and after deployment than the PTSD checklist and combat exposure. This finding challenges our understanding of PTSD, indicating that pretraumatic stress reactions are a genuine aspect of this disorder.

The Structure of Cognitive Vulnerabilities to Depression and Anxiety: Evidence for a Common Core Etiologic Process Based on a Meta-Analytic Review

Ryan Y. Hong and Mike W.-L. Cheung

Cognitive vulnerabilities are often thought of as being disorder specific, but new research is suggesting that a single vulnerability may underlie more than one type of disorder. To examine this, the authors conducted a meta-analysis examining the associations among six different vulnerabilities for anxiety and depression (pessimistic inferential style, dysfunctional attitudes, ruminative style, anxiety sensitivity, intolerance of uncertainty, and fear of negative evaluation). Seventy-three articles with a total of 159 effect sizes were included in the meta-analysis. The researchers found that the six cognitive vulnerabilities were moderately or strongly associated, and confirmatory factor analysis indicated that a one-factor model best fit the data. This suggests the existence of a common core latent variable underlying the six cognitive vulnerabilities.

Limits of Current Approaches to Diagnosis Severity Based on Criterion Counts: An Example With DSM-5 Alcohol Use Disorder

Sean P. Lane and Kenneth J. Sher

Systems used to determine the severity of mental disorders often use an additive model: the more symptoms you have, the more severe the disorder. A problem with this approach is that some combinations of symptom criteria may convey more severity than others. To examine the impact of criterion configurations on severity grading, data from a large, nationally representative U.S. sample were used to examine symptoms associated with alcohol-use disorder (AUD). Participants were assessed for the presence and severity of AUD, self-reported drinking behaviors, and general mental and physical health. Analysis of the data indicated that different combinations of the same number of symptoms conveyed different levels of severity, suggesting that disorder-severity ratings based solely on the number of symptoms may be misleading.

Sean P. Lane is giving a workshop at the 27th APS Annual Convention in NY York, NY, USA.

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