Date Approved

5-5-2009

Embargo Period

3-18-2016

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A. in Mental Health Counseling and Applied Psychology

Department

Psychology

College

College of Science & Mathematics

First Advisor

Angelone, Bonnie

Subject(s)

Post-traumatic stress disorder; Traffic accident victims

Disciplines

Psychology

Abstract

While the field of change detection and attentional biases has become an increasingly popular area of study and much is already known about Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), very little research has been done integrating these two areas. In the present study, we chose to investigate two types of traumatic experiences prevalent in the college population, motor vehicle accidents (MVAs) and sexual assaults. The flicker paradigm, used to measure change detection, was utilized to examine hypersensitivity to environments with threatening stimuli in individuals whom experienced either of these traumas. The paradigm monitored reaction times to identifying changes that took place in scenes involving MVA, suggested sexual aggression, or neutral stimuli. We hypothesized that those with higher levels of PTSD symptomology would respond faster to changes that represented their central clinical concern. The data suggested that there was a significant main effect for interaction between reaction times (RTs) to MVA stimuli and PTSD symptomology. However, the data did not indicate a significant main effect for interaction between PTSD symptomology and RTs for sexual aggression stimuli.

Included in

Psychology Commons

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