Poster D24, Monday, March 27, 8:00 – 10:00 am, Pacific Concourse
Emotion regulation constructs associated with variance of fear learning in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Emily M. Hahn1, Josh M. Cisler2, G. Andrew James1, Anthony A. Privratsky1, Clinton D. Kilts1; 1Brain Imaging Research Center, Psychiatric Research Institute, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, 2Department of Psychiatry, University of Wisconsin- Madison
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is associated with both emotional dysregulation and impaired fear extinction. Fear extinction consists of repeated exposure to a conditioned stimulus (i.e. fear-inducing stimulus), which elicits new learning of a ‘safe’ memory that competes with retrieval of the initial fear memory, thereby reducing fear responding. Twelve adult women with PTSD [mean(sd) sage = 38(8) years] underwent functional neuroimaging during fear extinction learning. The Difficulty in Emotion Regulation Scale (DERS) measured emotion regulation (ER), defined as the ability to inhibit or regulate one’s emotional state through six factors: Non-acceptance, Goals, Impulse, Awareness, Strategies, and Clarity. DERS factor-structures were correlated against differences in skin-conductance response (SCR) between CS+ and CS- during the fear extinction phase (CS+(E) , CS-(E)). Interestingly, the DERS Awareness subscale was significantly negatively correlated with SCR difference between CS+(E) and CS-(E) (r = -.53), suggesting that participants with more limited awareness about their feelings had less variance in their SCR responses to the fear-conditioned or neutral stimuli. Future studies may examine the overlapping neurocircuitry of fear extinction and emotion regulation in order to better understand brain mechanisms underlying impairment in both domains.
Topic Area: EMOTION & SOCIAL: Emotion-cognition interactions