The relationship between processing style, trauma memory processes, and the development of posttraumatic stress symptoms in children and adolescents

Anna McKinnon*, Neil Brewer, Kate Cameron, Reginald D.V. Nixon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background and objectives: Data-driven processing, peri-event fear, and trauma memory characteristics are hypothesised to play a core role in the development of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. We assessed the relationships between these characteristics and Posttraumatic Stress (PTS) symptoms in a sample of youth. Methods: Study 1 (N = 36, 7–16 years), involved a sample of children who had undergone a stressful orthopaedic procedure. One week later they answered a series of probed recall questions about the trauma (assessed for accuracy by comparison to a video) and reported on their PTS symptoms. They also rated confidence in their probed recall answers to assess meta-cognitive monitoring of their memory for the trauma. In Study 2, a sample of injured children (N = 57, 7–16 years) were assessed within 1-month of a visit to an Emergency Department, and then at 3-month follow-up. They answered probed recall questions, made confidence ratings, and completed measures of data-driven processing, peri-event fear, PTS and associated psychopathology. Memories were verified using witness accounts. Results: Studies 1 and 2 did not find an association between PTS symptoms and trauma memory accuracy or confidence. In Studies 1 and 2 data-driven processing predicted PTS symptoms. Limitations The studies had modest samples sizes and there were ceiling effects for some accuracy and confidence items. Conclusions: Data-driven processing at the time of a trauma was associated with PTS symptoms after accounting for fear at the time of the trauma. Accuracy of recall for trauma memories was not significantly related to PTS symptoms. No decisive conclusion could be drawn regarding the relation between confidence in trauma memories and PTS symptoms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-142
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry
Volume57
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017

Keywords

  • post-traumatic stress
  • data-driven processing
  • autobiographical memory
  • meta-memory
  • children

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'The relationship between processing style, trauma memory processes, and the development of posttraumatic stress symptoms in children and adolescents'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this