New Research From Clinical Psychological Science

Read about the latest research published in Clinical Psychological Science:

Attentional Bias Dynamics and Posttraumatic Stress in Survivors of Violent Conflict and Atrocities: New Directions in Clinical Psychological Science of Refugee Mental Health

Kim Yuval, Ariel Zvielli, and Amit Bernstein

Survivors of violent conflicts and forcibly displaced persons are at risk for experiencing posttraumatic stress (PTS) symptoms. The researchers investigated a promising target for treatment: attentional bias (AB). AB is often conceptualized as a static trait, but new research is suggesting that it may be better described as a dynamic process. In this study, 110 male Sudanese asylum seekers completed a visual emotional dot probe task. Results from this task were used to compute AB as a static and as a dynamic trait. The researchers found no association between AB and PTS when AB was conceptualized as a static trait, but they found that dynamic features of AB predicted levels of PTS severity. This study demonstrates the value of viewing AB as a dynamic trait and helps inform treatments for PTS experienced by displaced populations.

Cognitive Bias Modification: Retrieval Practice to Simulate and Oppose Ruminative Memory Biases

Paula T. Hertel, Amaris Maydon, Julia Cottle, and Janna N. Vrijsen

People with ruminative tendencies bring to mind the same information over and over again. Participants who reported high or low levels of rumination learned positive, neutral, and negative noun pairs over the course of four learning cycles. As part of each learning cycle, participants either practiced recalling the positive or the negative noun pairs (practice group) or performed an unrelated digit/symbol substitution task (study-only group). All participants were tested on half the noun pairs immediately following the final learning cycles and on all the noun pairs a week later. Large practice effects were found, even though ruminators showed a bias in recalling the unpracticed negative word pairs on the immediate test. Ruminators who practiced positive noun recall also reported increased mood, suggesting that practicing recalling positive information may be beneficial to those with ruminative tendencies.

Developing a Risk Model to Target High-Risk Preventive Interventions for Sexual Assault Victimization Among Female U.S. Army Soldiers

Amy E. Street, Anthony J. Rosellini, Robert J. Ursano, Steven G. Heeringa, Eric D. Hill, John Monahan, James A. Naifeh, Maria V. Petukhova, Ben Y. Reis, Nancy A. Sampson, Paul D. Bliese, Murray B. Stein, Alan M. Zaslavsky, and Ronald C. Kessler

Many sexual-assault intervention programs focus on intervening in the behavior of potential perpetrators, but studies have suggested that an additional target may be those most at risk of experiencing an assault. The researchers used data from the Historical Administrative Data System, a compilation of 38 administrative U.S. Army and Department of Defense data systems. Administratively reported and self-reported victimization, as well as clinical, demographic, and crime- and military-related variables were analyzed. Lower sociocultural and organizational power, prior involvement in crime, treatment for injuries/poisonings, and treatment for mental disorders were predictive of administratively reported sexual assault. A high concentration of victimization was found to occur to female service members identified as most at risk by the model, suggesting that this type of modeling could be useful in identifying those at most risk for assault in military settings.

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