Acute stress disorder versus chronic posttraumatic stress disorder: inhibition of fear as a function of time since trauma
Depression and Anxiety, 08/21/2012
Jovanovic T et al. – The data expand the previously observed findings of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)–associated fear inhibition deficits by demonstrating that trauma–related impairments in safety learning are evident within 30days of trauma exposure.Methods
- Using established translational, psychophysiological methods including fear-potentiated startle, and skin conductance, the authors examined fear acquisition, stimulus discrimination, and the transfer of learned safety in a Croatian population with ASD or PTSD.
- This cross-sectional study included three age-matched groups: healthy nontrauma controls (n=27), a group with chronic PTSD (10 or more years since trauma exposure, n=24), and a group with ASD (30days or less since trauma exposure, n=27).
- The presence of trauma-related psychopathology, whether acute or chronic, was associated with an impaired ability to transfer learned safety based on fear-potentiated startle measures, while healthy control subjects showed significant fear inhibition in the presence of the safety cue compared to the danger cue, F(1,26)=12.64, P=.001.