Development and validation of the recovery-dysfunction implicit association test in military personnel and civilians with posttraumatic stress disorder.

Brian A. Moore, Kennesaw State University
Willie J. Hale, The University of Texas at San Antonio
Alan L. Peterson, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio


Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is potentially stigmatizing and among the most commonly reported combat-related mental health concerns. Little research has examined implicit cognition in individuals with PTSD. The present research was designed to develop an implicit (Recovery-Dysfunction Implicit Association Test [IAT]) assessment to examine recovery and dysfunction mindsets in individuals with PTSD. The novel IAT was then compared to an explicit measure of the same constructs (the Dispositional Recovery and Dysfunction Inventory [DRDI]) to determine the predictive and discriminant ability of an implicit measure to predict PTSD while explaining unique variance in the presence of an explicit measure of the same constructs. The stimuli used in the development of the Recovery- Dysfunction IAT and the DRDI were created through an iterative focus group and survey process that included experts in PTSD therapy and research. The results indicated that the Recovery-Dysfunction IAT successfully predicted and delineated among individuals with and without PTSD. Conversely, only the DRDI was found to be related to a range of psychiatric disorders that are frequently comorbid with PTSD. Additional research is warranted to determine if the DRDI and Recovery-Dysfunction IAT are beneficial as screening tools to predict PTSD treatment response and associated dysfunction or recovery in clinical samples.