Reliving, emotions, and fragmentation in the autobiographical memories of veterans diagnosed with PTSD

Journal Article

Fifty veterans diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) each recalled four autobiographical memories: one from the 2 years before service, one non-combat memory from the time in service, one from combat, and one from service that had often come as an intrusive memory. For each memory, they provided 21 ratings about reliving, belief, sensory properties, reexperiencing emotions, visceral emotional responses, fragmentation, and narrative coherence. We used these ratings to examine three claims about traumatic memories: a separation of cognitive and visceral aspects of emotion, an increased sense of reliving, and increased fragmentation. There was evidence for a partial separation of cognitive judgments of reexperiencing an emotion and reports of visceral symptoms of the emotion, with visceral symptoms correlating more consistently with scores on PTSD tests. Reliving, but not fragmentation of the memories, increased with increases in the trauma relatedness of the event and with increases in scores on standardized tests of PTSD severity. Copyright © 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Beckham, JC; Feldman, ME; Rubin, DC

Published Date

  • January 1, 2004

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1002/acp.950