Using Interpretation Bias Modification to Reduce Anger in Veterans with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: A Pilot Study.
Difficulty controlling anger is the most commonly reported reintegration concern among veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). One of the mechanisms associated with problematic anger is a tendency to interpret ambiguous interpersonal situations as hostile, known as the hostile interpretation bias (HIB). A computer-based interpretation bias modification (IBM) intervention has been shown to successfully reduce HIB and anger but has not been tested in veterans with PTSD. The current study was a pilot trial of this IBM intervention modified to address problematic anger among veterans with PTSD. Veterans with PTSD and a high level of anger (N = 7) completed eight sessions of IBM treatment over the course of 4 weeks. Participants completed self-report questionnaires at pre- and posttreatment assessment visits, as well as a treatment acceptability interview at posttreatment. Veterans experienced large reductions in hostile interpretation bias and anger from pre- to posttreatment, ds = 1.03-1.96, although these estimates may be unstable due to the small sample size. The feasibility for recruitment, retention, and treatment completion were high. Questionnaire and interview data demonstrated that most participants were satisfied with the treatment and found it helpful and easy to use. Overall, IBM for anger was feasible and acceptable to veterans with PTSD and was associated with reductions in hostile interpretations and self-reported anger outcomes. Further research examining this approach is warranted.
Dillon, KH; Medenblik, AM; Mosher, TM; Elbogen, EB; Morland, LA; Beckham, JC
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