A DRM Study of Trauma Memory Among Employees of New York City Companies Affected by the September 11, 2001 Attacks

Date

2015-03-24

Authors

Triantafyllou, Dinara

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: PTSD has been found to be associated with abnormalities in memory function. This relationship has not previously been studied with the Deese-Roediger-McDermott (DRM) false memory paradigm in disaster-exposed populations. OBJECTIVE: This study aims to describe the relationship between exposure to trauma, PTSD, and changes in memory. METHODS: Three years after the September 11 (9/11) attacks, 281 participants from a volunteer sample of 379, recruited from eight companies affected by the attacks, completed an interview about their disaster experience, a structured diagnostic interview, and the DRM paradigm. RESULTS: It was hypothesized that participants with PTSD would demonstrate more associative errors, termed false alarms to critical lures, compared to those without PTSD. This hypothesis was not supported; the only predictor of false alarms to critical lures was direct 9/11 trauma exposure.
CONCLUSION: The finding that 9/11 trauma exposure was associated with false alarms to critical lures suggests that neural processing of trauma exposure memory may involve associative elements of overgeneralization coupled with insufficient inhibition of responses to related but harmless stimuli. Future research will be needed to differentiate psychopathology, such as PTSD, from physiological fight-or-flight responses to trauma.

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The general metadata -- e.g., title, author, abstract, subject headings, etc. -- is publicly available, but access to the submitted files is restricted to UT Southwestern campus access and/or authorized UT Southwestern users.
Pages ii-iv are misnumbered as pages iii-v.

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