Acute effects of trauma-focused research procedures on participant safety and distress

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2014-01-30

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Abstract

The ethical conduct of research on posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) requires assessing the risks to study participants. Some previous findings suggest that patients with PTSD report higher distress compared to non-PTSD participants after trauma-focused research. However, the impact of study participation on participant risk, such as suicidal/homicidal ideation and increased desire to use drugs or alcohol, has not been adequately investigated. Furthermore, systematic evaluation of distress using pre- and post-study assessments, and the effects of study procedures involving exposure to aversive stimuli, are lacking. Individuals with a history of PTSD (n=68) and trauma-exposed non-PTSD controls (n=68) responded to five questions about risk and distress before and after participating in research procedures including a PTSD diagnostic interview and a behavioral task with aversive stimuli consisting of mild electrical shock. The desire to use alcohol or drugs increased modestly with study participation among the subgroup (n=48) of participants with current PTSD. Participation in these research procedures was not associated with increased distress or participant risk, nor did study participation interact with lifetime PTSD diagnosis. These results suggest some increase in distress with active PTSD but a participant risk profile that supports a favorable risk-benefit ratio for conducting research in individuals with PTSD. © 2013.

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10.1016/j.psychres.2013.10.038

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Brown, Vanessa M, Jennifer L Strauss, Kevin S LaBar, Andrea L Gold, Gregory McCarthy and Rajendra A Morey (2014). Acute effects of trauma-focused research procedures on participant safety and distress. Psychiatry Research, 215(1). pp. 154–158. 10.1016/j.psychres.2013.10.038 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/10979.

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Scholars@Duke

Strauss

Jennifer Leigh Strauss

Associate Professor in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
LaBar

Kevin S. LaBar

Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience

My research focuses on understanding how emotional events modulate cognitive processes in the human brain. We aim to identify brain regions that encode the emotional properties of sensory stimuli, and to show how these regions interact with neural systems supporting social cognition, executive control, and learning and memory. To achieve this goal, we use a variety of cognitive neuroscience techniques in human subject populations. These include psychophysiological monitoring, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), machine learning,  and behavioral studies in healthy adults as well as psychiatric patients. This integrative approach capitalizes on recent advances in the field and may lead to new insights into cognitive-emotional interactions in the brain.

Morey

Rajendra A. Morey

Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Research in my lab is focused on brain changes associated with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI), and other neuropsychiatric disorders. We apply several advanced methods for understanding brain function including functional MRI, structural MRI, diffusion tensor imaging, and genetic effects.


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