Selective processing of trauma-relevant words in posttraumatic stress disorder
This study investigated Stroop color-naming of trauma-related words in male Vietnam combat veterans with (n = 42) and without (n = 15) posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The anxiety connotations of the words were either very specific to the Vietnam experience (point, lead), general but still Vietnam-related (medevac, bodybags), or general and not specifically related to Vietnam (crash, grief). All three categories of words slowed color-naming compared to neutral control words. This was true for all subjects, but the effect was more pronounced in veterans with PTSD. The generally negative but still Vietnam-related words caused more interference in colornaming than did the other categories of words, which was attributed to their ability to access Vietnam combat memories more efficiently. There was a free recall and recognition memory advantage for the emotion words, suggesting that the Stroop interference effect was mediated by an attentional bias towards the anxiety-related material rather than avoidance of it. Veterans with PTSD were slower in color-naming overall, an effect that could not be attributed to group differences in psychiatric medication, depression, or anxiety. © 1995.
Vrana, SR; Roodman, A; Beckham, JC
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