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Unformatted text preview: Journal of Abnormal Psychology 2001, Vol. 110, No. 4, 536-543 Copyright 2001 by the American Psychological Association, Inc. 0021-843X/01/S5.00 DOI: 10.1037//0021-843X.110.4.536 Specificity of Stroop Interference in Patients With Pain and PTSD J. Gayle Beck, Jennifer B. Freeman, Jillian C. Shipherd, Jessica L. Hamblen, and Jeffery M. Lackner State University of New York at Buffalo The authors investigated processing of threat words in motor vehicle accident survivors using a modified Stroop procedure. Three samples were included: 28 participants with comorbid posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and pain, 26 participants with pain without PTSD, and 21 participants without pain or any psychiatric conditions. Four word categories were used: (a) accident words, (b) pain words, (c) positive words, and (d) neutral words. This study examined whether processing biases would occur to accident words only in participants with PTSD or if these biases would also be noted in the No PTSD/Pain sample. Additionally, this study examined whether processing biases would be noted to pain words in the 2 pain samples, irrespective of PTSD. Overall, color naming was significantly slower in the PTSD/Pain group in comparison with the other groups. As well, the PTSD/Pain sample showed significant response delays to both accident and pain-related words, whereas patients with No PTSD/Pain showed delays to pain stimuli only. Information-processing models have had a notable influence on the study of anxiety disorders, particularly posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD; Foa & Kozak, 1986; Litz & Keane, 1989; Wil- liams, Mathews, & MacLeod, 1996). As defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th ed.; DSM-FV; American Psychiatric Association, 1994), PTSD includes symp- toms of cognitive disturbance, such as hypervigilance to poten- tially threatening stimuli, intrusive thoughts and dreams about the trauma, and flashbacks. Current models of PTSD emphasize the primary role that cognitive processes, such as fear networks (e.g., Foa & Kozak, 1986), attentional biases (e.g., Litz & Keane, 1989), and trauma-related memory (e.g., Brewin, Dalgleish, & Joseph, 1996), play in the maintenance of PTSD symptomatology. For example, individuals with PTSD are hypothesized to have trauma- specific fear structures. When the person encounters a stimulus that is represented within the trauma-specific structure, the system is activated and fear or anxiety is evoked (Chemtob, Roitblat, Hamada, Carlson, & Twentyman, 1988; Foa & Kozak, 1986; Foa, Steketee, & Rothbaum, 1989; Lang, 1977). Additionally, some J. Gayle Beck, Jennifer B. Freeman, Jillian C. Shipherd, Jessica L. Hamblen, Department of Psychology, State University of New York at Buffalo; Jeffery M. Lackner, Department of Anesthesiology, State Univer- sity of New York, Buffalo School of Medicine....
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