Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a debilitating psychiatric disorder that develops in a subset of people exposed to traumatic events. The rate of lifetime PTSD in low income, inner-city populations where there is significantly increased risk for exposure to multiple traumatic events and childhood trauma is much higher than the general population. Studying PTSD symptomatology in this type of at-risk sample provides a unique opportunity to better understand underlying mechanisms in the development and maintenance of PTSD symptoms. One psychological factor that may determine greater risk in the development of PTSD symptoms is emotion dysregulation. Emotion dysregulation reflects deficits in awareness and acceptance of emotions as well as in regulation strategies to manage intense negative emotional states. Research has already shown that emotion dysregulation can be viewed as a transdiagnostic process that contributes to many types of adult psychopathology, including PTSD. Difficulties with emotion regulation are often found in individuals exposed to traumatic events and evidence suggests that these problems can develop early on and persist into adulthood. Therefore, the role of emotion dysregulation in trauma-related psychopathology may be particularly salient in populations at risk for exposure to multiple traumas across the lifespan. These findings all suggest that emotion dysregulation may be a critical factor in understanding the complex relationship between trauma, PTSD, and other psychopathology. While there is growing evidence to suggest the importance of emotion dysregulation in PTSD symptomology, most research on emotion dysregulation has focused on unidimensional self-report measures and has not established how emotion dysregulation relates to objectively identified biomarkers of PTSD. Furthermore, because of the varied presentation of PTSD symptoms, it is critical that research move beyond a focus on the categorical disorder and instead [evaluate differential effects on the continuous presentation of symptoms across intrusion, avoidance, numbing and hyperarousal symptom clusters. This approach is highly relevant to the NIMH RDoC initiative in that it will include biological in addition to psychologica metrics and examine constructs that cut across DSM defined disorders.] Specifically, the present study will use subjective and behavioral measures of emotion dysregulation and evaluate how these differentially relate to the PTSD symptom clusters as well as behavioral and physiological biomarkers of PTSD in a highly traumatized urban minority population with the goal of understanding pathways between trauma exposure and PTSD symptoms.

Public Health Relevance

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a highly debilitating and complex disorder frequently comorbid with many medical and psychiatric illnesses. Difficulties with emotion regulation are often found in individuals exposed to traumatic events and may determine greater risk in the development of PTSD. The goal of this proposal is to investigate the role of emotion dysregulation in PTSD symptoms using objective behavioral and physiological measures with the goal of better understanding underlying mechanisms behind trauma-related psychopathology and [inform the development of novel and effective approaches for treating PTSD, particularly in high-risk populations such as low-income, African-Americans.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institute
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Type
Postdoctoral Individual National Research Service Award (F32)
Project #
1F32MH102890-01A1
Application #
8783040
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1)
Program Officer
Chavez, Mark
Project Start
2014-07-01
Project End
2017-06-30
Budget Start
2014-07-01
Budget End
2015-06-30
Support Year
1
Fiscal Year
2014
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Name
Emory University
Department
Psychiatry
Type
Schools of Medicine
DUNS #
City
Atlanta
State
GA
Country
United States
Zip Code
30322
Sharma, Sumeet; Powers, Abigail; Bradley, Bekh et al. (2016) Gene × Environment Determinants of Stress- and Anxiety-Related Disorders. Annu Rev Psychol 67:239-61
Powers, Abigail; Almli, Lynn; Smith, Alicia et al. (2016) A genome-wide association study of emotion dysregulation: Evidence for interleukin 2 receptor alpha. J Psychiatr Res 83:195-202
Mandavia, Amar; Robinson, Gabriella G N; Bradley, Bekh et al. (2016) Exposure to Childhood Abuse and Later Substance Use: Indirect Effects of Emotion Dysregulation and Exposure to Trauma. J Trauma Stress 29:422-429
Sumner, Jennifer A; Powers, Abigail; Jovanovic, Tanja et al. (2016) Genetic influences on the neural and physiological bases of acute threat: A research domain criteria (RDoC) perspective. Am J Med Genet B Neuropsychiatr Genet 171B:44-64
Powers, Abigail; Fani, Negar; Cross, Dorthie et al. (2016) Childhood trauma, PTSD, and psychosis: Findings from a highly traumatized, minority sample. Child Abuse Negl 58:111-8
Goldstein, Brittany; Bradley, Bekh; Ressler, Kerry J et al. (2016) Associations Between Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Emotion Dysregulation, and Alcohol Dependence Symptoms Among Inner City Females. J Clin Psychol :
Powers, Abigail; Michopoulos, Vasiliki; Conneely, Karen et al. (2016) Emotion Dysregulation and Inflammation in African-American Women with Type 2 Diabetes. Neural Plast 2016:8926840
Michopoulos, Vasiliki; Powers, Abigail; Moore, Carla et al. (2015) The mediating role of emotion dysregulation and depression on the relationship between childhood trauma exposure and emotional eating. Appetite 91:129-36
Powers, Abigail; Stevens, Jennifer; Fani, Negar et al. (2015) Construct validity of a short, self report instrument assessing emotional dysregulation. Psychiatry Res 225:85-92
Powers, Abigail; Cross, Dorthie; Fani, Negar et al. (2015) PTSD, emotion dysregulation, and dissociative symptoms in a highly traumatized sample. J Psychiatr Res 61:174-9

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