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The association between PTSD and facial affect recognition.

Authors
  • Williams, Christian L1
  • Milanak, Melissa E2
  • Judah, Matt R3
  • Berenbaum, Howard4
  • 1 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, IL, USA. Electronic address: [email protected]
  • 2 Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC, USA.
  • 3 Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA, USA; Virginia Consortium Program in Clinical Psychology, Norfolk, VA, USA.
  • 4 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, IL, USA.
Type
Published Article
Journal
Psychiatry research
Publication Date
Jul 01, 2018
Volume
265
Pages
298–302
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.psychres.2018.04.055
PMID: 29778050
Source
Medline
Keywords
License
Unknown

Abstract

The major aims of this study were to examine how, if at all, having higher levels of PTSD would be associated with performance on a facial affect recognition task in which facial expressions of emotion are superimposed on emotionally valenced, non-face images. College students with trauma histories (N = 90) completed a facial affect recognition task as well as measures of exposure to traumatic events, and PTSD symptoms. When the face and context matched, participants with higher levels of PTSD were significantly more accurate. When the face and context were mismatched, participants with lower levels of PTSD were more accurate than were those with higher levels of PTSD. These findings suggest that PTSD is associated with how people process affective information. Furthermore, these results suggest that the enhanced attention of people with higher levels of PTSD to affective information can be either beneficial or detrimental to their ability to accurately identify facial expressions of emotion. Limitations, future directions and clinical implications are discussed.

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