New Research From Clinical Psychological Science

Read about the latest research published in Clinical Psychological Science:

Self-Distancing From Trauma Memories Reduces Physiological but Not Subjective Emotional Reactivity Among Veterans With Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

Blair E. Wisco, Brian P. Marx, Denise M. Sloan, Kaitlyn R. Gorman, Andrea L. Kulish, and Suzanne L. Pineles

Self-distancing (i.e., taking a third-person perspective) has been shown to reduce emotional and physiological reactivity during self-reflection. In this study, veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) were instructed to recount and analyze their worst traumatic event from either a first-person or a third-person perspective. Veterans’ heart rates and skin-conductance responses were measured during the task, and they rated their emotional reactivity and arousal levels. The researchers found that veterans who took a first-person perspective experienced increases in physiological arousal, whereas veterans who took a third-person perspective did not. Self-distancing, however, had no effect on emotional reactivity, indicating that not all of the benefits of self-distancing extend to trauma memories.

Rumination and Worry in Daily Life: Examining the Naturalistic Validity of Theoretical Constructs

Katharina Kircanski, Renee J. Thompson, James E. Sorenson, Lindsey Sherdell, and Ian H. Gotlib

Both rumination and worry are types of perseverative thought processes; however, rumination is traditionally linked to major depressive disorder (MDD), whereas worry is linked to generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). In a study examining the potential transdiagnostic nature of these constructs, adult women with MDD, GAD, or co-occurring MDD-GAD reported their levels of worry and rumination and responded to questions about theorized features of rumination. They used handheld devices to respond eight times a day for 7 or 8 consecutive days. All three groups reported similar levels of rumination and worry, identifying these as transdiagnostic processes. Participants’ reports also provided some of the first naturalistic validation for theorized features of these two constructs.

Boundary Restriction for Negative Emotional Images Is an Example of Memory Amplification

Melanie K. T. Takarangi, Jacinta M. Oulton, Deanne M. Green, and Deryn Strange

The authors examined memory distortions in relation to images of traumatic scenes by having participants view a series of pictures depicting traumatic stimuli. Participants then had to identify the previously seen images from among distractors that could include identical, close-up versions (i.e., narrow boundaries) or wide-angle versions (i.e., extended boundaries) of the same pictures. Across several experiments, participants were more likely to remember pictures as having extended boundaries. The extent to which participants reexperienced traumatic aspects of the images was associated with how often participants remembered the images as having narrower boundaries. The authors suggest that reexperiencing may result in the amplification of the most central and salient parts of an image, thus leading participants to misremember the image as having narrower boundaries.

APS regularly opens certain online articles for discussion on our website. Effective February 2021, you must be a logged-in APS member to post comments. By posting a comment, you agree to our Community Guidelines and the display of your profile information, including your name and affiliation. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations present in article comments are those of the writers and do not necessarily reflect the views of APS or the article’s author. For more information, please see our Community Guidelines.

Please login with your APS account to comment.