DWELLING ON POTENTIAL THREAT CUES: AN EYE MOVEMENT MARKER FOR COMBAT-RELATED PTSD
Article first published online: 25 APR 2013
© 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Depression and Anxiety
Volume 30, Issue 5, pages 497–502, May 2013
How to Cite
Armstrong, T., Bilsky, S. A., Zhao, M. and Olatunji, B. O. (2013), DWELLING ON POTENTIAL THREAT CUES: AN EYE MOVEMENT MARKER FOR COMBAT-RELATED PTSD. Depress. Anxiety, 30: 497–502. doi: 10.1002/da.22115
- Issue published online: 25 APR 2013
- Article first published online: 25 APR 2013
- Manuscript Accepted: 17 MAR 2013
- Manuscript Revised: 27 FEB 2013
- Manuscript Received: 30 JAN 2013
- PTSD/posttraumatic stress disorder;
- stress, anxiety/anxiety disorders;
Although several studies have documented an attentional bias toward threat in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the nature of this bias has not been clearly delineated. The present study utilized eye tracking technology to delineate the time course and components of attentional bias for threat cues in combat-related PTSD.
Veterans with PTSD (n = 21), combat-exposed veterans without PTSD (n = 16), and nonveteran controls (n = 21) viewed emotional expressions (fearful, disgusted, happy) paired with neutral expressions for 3 s presentations.
Veterans with PTSD maintained attention longer on the fearful and disgusted expressions relative to the happy expression. This negativity bias was sustained over the course of the 3 s trials, and robustly distinguished veterans with PTSD from both veterans without PTSD and nonveteran controls.
Dwelling on potential threat cues may reflect current PTSD symptoms, or it could reflect a cognitive vulnerability factor for PTSD.