Reducing analogue trauma symptoms by computerized reappraisal training: Considering a Cognitive prophylaxis?
Number of pages
SourceJournal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 44, 3, (2013), pp. 312-315
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ BSI KLP
Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry
SubjectExperimental Psychopathology and Treatment
Background and objectives Distressing intrusions are a hallmark of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Dysfunctional appraisal of these symptoms may exacerbate the disorder, and conversely may lead to further intrusive memories. This raises the intriguing possibility that learning to ‘reappraise’ potential symptoms more functionally may protect against such symptoms. Woud, Holmes, Postma, Dalgleish, and Mackintosh (2012) found that ‘reappraisal training’ when delivered after an analogue stressful event reduced later intrusive memories and other posttraumatic symptoms. The present study aimed to investigate whether reappraisal training administered before a stressful event is also beneficial. Methods Participants first received positive or negative reappraisal training (CBM-App training) using a series of scripted vignettes. Subsequently, participants were exposed to a film with traumatic content. Effects of the CBM-App training procedure were assessed via three distinct outcome measures, namely: (a) post-training appraisals of novel ambiguous vignettes, (b) change scores on the Post Traumatic Cognitions Inventory (PTCI), and (c) intrusive symptom diary. Results CBM-App training successfully induced training-congruent appraisal styles. Moreover, those trained positively reported less distress arising from their intrusive memories of the trauma film during the subsequent week than those trained negatively. However, the induced appraisal bias only partly affected PTCI scores. Limitations Participants used their own negative event as a reference for the PTCI assessments. The events may have differed regarding their emotional impact. There was no control group. Conclusions CBM-App training has also some beneficial effects when applied before a stressful event and may serve as a cognitive prophylaxis against trauma-related symptomatology.
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