POSTDEPLOYMENT THREAT-RELATED ATTENTION BIAS INTERACTS WITH COMBAT EXPOSURE TO ACCOUNT FOR PTSD AND ANXIETY SYMPTOMS IN SOLDIERS
Article first published online: 19 AUG 2013
Published 2013. This article is a U.S. Government work and is in the public domain in the USA.
Depression and Anxiety
Focus on PTSD
Volume 31, Issue 2, pages 124–129, February 2014
How to Cite
Sipos, M. L., Bar-Haim, Y., Abend, R., Adler, A. B. and Bliese, P. D. (2014), POSTDEPLOYMENT THREAT-RELATED ATTENTION BIAS INTERACTS WITH COMBAT EXPOSURE TO ACCOUNT FOR PTSD AND ANXIETY SYMPTOMS IN SOLDIERS. Depress. Anxiety, 31: 124–129. doi: 10.1002/da.22157
- Issue published online: 27 JAN 2014
- Article first published online: 19 AUG 2013
- Manuscript Accepted: 5 JUN 2013
- Manuscript Revised: 31 MAY 2013
- Manuscript Received: 28 NOV 2012
- attention bias;
- combat exposure;
- difference scores;
- polynomial regression;
Recent studies suggest that assessment of threat-related attention bias may be useful in identifying soldiers at risk for clinical symptoms. The present study assessed the degree to which soldiers experienced combat events and showed attentional threat avoidance affected their reported levels of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and anxiety symptoms.
Four months after a combat deployment to Iraq, 63 US soldiers completed a survey assessing combat exposures and clinical symptoms as well as a dot-probe task assessing threat-related attention bias.
Significant three-way interactions regressing threat reaction times (RTs), neutral RTs, and combat exposure on PTSD and anxiety symptoms were observed. Specifically, soldiers with high levels of combat exposure, who were more likely to demonstrate attentional bias away from threat, were also more symptomatic.
These results demonstrate the potential of threat-related attention bias as a behavioral marker of PTSD and anxiety symptoms in a high-risk military occupational context.