Neural indices of emotional reactivity and regulation predict course of PTSD symptoms in combat-exposed veterans

Jacklynn M. Fitzgerald, Stephanie M. Gorka, Autumn Kujawa, Julia A. DiGangi, Eric Proescher, Justin E. Greenstein, Darrin M. Aase, Christopher Schroth, Kaveh Afshar, Amy E. Kennedy, Greg Hajcak, K. Luan Phan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

After diagnosis, veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) display significant variability in the natural course of illness (Bonanno et al., 2012)). Cross-sectional work reveals that abnormal neural response during emotion reactivity—measured using the late positive potential (LPP)—correlates with PTSD symptom severity; however, whether the LPP during emotional reactivity and regulation predicts symptoms over time is unknown. The current study examined the LPP during emotion reactivity and regulation as predictors of PTSD symptoms over one year in OEF/OIF/OND combat-exposed veterans. At baseline, participants completed an Emotion Regulation Task (ERT) during electroencephalogram recording. The Clinician Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS) was completed at baseline (N = 86), 6-months (N = 54) and 1-year (N = 49) later. During ERT, participants viewed negative pictures; partway through they were instructed to “reappraise” (i.e., reduce negative affect/regulate) or “look” (i.e., passively react). Change in LPP during emotional reactivity (ΔLPP-E) and reappraisal (ΔLPP-R) were calculated and used in multilevel mixed modeling to predict CAPS over time. Findings demonstrated that deficiency in reappraisal (ΔLPP-R) predicted more overall symptoms over time, while greater neural responses to emotion (ΔLPP-E) and greater change in neural response as a function of reappraisal (ΔLPP-R) predicted a decline in avoidance symptoms over time. Together, results support the utility of neural markers of emotional reactivity and regulation as predictors of PTSD symptoms—and change in symptoms—across one year.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)255-262
Number of pages8
JournalProgress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry
Volume82
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pharmacology
  • Biological Psychiatry

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    Fitzgerald, J. M., Gorka, S. M., Kujawa, A., DiGangi, J. A., Proescher, E., Greenstein, J. E., Aase, D. M., Schroth, C., Afshar, K., Kennedy, A. E., Hajcak, G., & Phan, K. L. (2018). Neural indices of emotional reactivity and regulation predict course of PTSD symptoms in combat-exposed veterans. Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry, 82, 255-262. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pnpbp.2017.11.005