The current DSM-5 criteria for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) affords heterogeneous symptom presentations; however, current treatment fails to consider differences in trauma frequency and trauma type. These different symptom profiles that exist within the PTSD framework lead to questions about the generalizability of treatment outcomes from one group to another group. One group of interest is those that experience multiple traumatic events and report multiple index traumas (trauma frequency). The second group of interest is those with a PTSD diagnosis from occupational exposure to traumatic events (trauma type). Appreciation of the reinforcement schedule may be particularly crucial for understanding treatment response. The current study aims to investigate habituation responses during exposure therapy to inform treatment modifications and decisions. Exposure therapy process variables, session variables, and PTSD severity were examined for a sample of 128 participants that sought treatment for combat-related PTSD or occupation-related PTSD, some of whom endorsed multiple index traumas, and some of whom endorsed a single index trauma. Results revealed no significant differences based on trauma frequency or trauma type for within-session and between-session habituation. This suggests that the effectiveness of a flooding approach to extinguish avoidance behavior may overcome the impact of reinforcement schedule on fear habituation. The results of the present study contribute to the growing body of literature that suggests the exclusion of patients based on the pre-treatment characteristics of trauma frequency and trauma type is unfounded.
If this is your thesis or dissertation, and want to learn how to access it or for more information about readership statistics, contact us at STARS@ucf.edu.
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Sciences
Psychology; Clinical Psychology
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
Marks, Madeline, "Habituation Trajectory During Exposure Therapy: Comparing Trauma Frequency and Trauma Type" (2019). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2004-2019. 6528.