Selective processing of trauma-relevant words in posttraumatic stress disorder


Journal Article

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.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Vrana, SR; Roodman, A; Beckham, JC

Published Date

  • January 1, 1995

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 9 / 6

Start / End Page

  • 515 - 530

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0887-6185

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/0887-6185(95)00028-M

Citation Source

  • Scopus