Read about the latest research published in Clinical Psychological Science:
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.
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.
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.