Smith, Lindsay E
The role of memory for trauma in the development of
post-traumatic stress disorder following traumatic brain injury and research portfolio.
D Clin Psy thesis, University of Glasgow.
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Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has been reported following traumatic brain injury (TBI), even when TBI leads to amnesia for the traumatic event. This study aimed to investigate the relationship between memory for the event (as assessed by the Traumatic Memory Inventory) and reporting of PTSD symptoms in a sample of adults with mild-severe TBI (n=21). Physiological reactivity (heart rate and activity level) was recorded in order to investigate the possible role of sub-conscious processes (such as implicit memory or fear conditioning) in the development of PTSD after TBI. PTSD symptoms were assessed by a self-report questionnaire (Post-traumatic Diagnostic Scale; PDS) and the Clinician Administered PTSD Scale so as to compare previously reported diagnostic rates established with these measures (Sumpter and McMillan, 2005). Higher PTSD severity scores were not, as predicted, associated with recall of the event. Amnesia for the traumatic event may not protect against PTSD development and other factors associated with recall (such as emotional response and confidence in accurateness) may be relevant. Predicted increases in heart rate and activity level during trauma recall were not found and results do not support the role of sub-conscious processing as a causal mechanism for PTSD development after TBI. Rates of diagnosis established using self-report and interview measures support previous evidence that the assessment of PTSD after TBI is confused by overlapping symptoms and that valid diagnosis can only be established with clinician judgement.
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