Project Title

Demonstrating the Relationship Between Childhood Trauma Exposure and Emotional Dysregulation Through the Fear-potentiated Startle Paradigm.

Presenters

Academic department under which the project should be listed

RCHSS - Psychological Science

Faculty Sponsor Name

Dr. Ebony Glover

Disciplines

Psychological Phenomena and Processes

Abstract (300 words maximum)

Past studies have demonstrated that exposure to childhood trauma may result in increased reactivity to stressful stimuli as well as long-term changes in psychophysiological and emotional reactivity. In our lab, we employed a fear-potentiated startle (FPS) paradigm wherein patients were conditioned to form an associated between a neutral conditioned stimulus (CS) and an aversive unconditioned stimulus (US) through a number of pairings such that the mere presentation of the CS will elicit a fear response. This is followed by a period of extinction wherein the US is no longer paired with the CS. By the end of the is period the presentation of the CS should no longer elicit a fear response. A previous paper has demonstrated that those who were exposed to childhood physical abuse demonstrated a heightened baseline startle reactivity. It has also been demonstrate that childhood trauma is a predictor of emotional dysregulation later in life. Those with emotion dysregulation have been shown to have difficulty extinguishing conditioned startle responses. This paper aims to examine the relationship between FPS, childhood trauma, and emotional dysregulation. Participants (N= ) underwent a fear conditioning and completed both an Emotional Dysregulation Scale (EDS) and the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ). We hypothesize that high baseline startle reactions will correlate positively to both childhood trauma and emotional dysregulation. This would suggest that emotional dysregulation may be a manifestation of the neurobiological effects of exposure to childhood trauma.

Project Type

Oral Presentation (15-min time slots)

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Demonstrating the Relationship Between Childhood Trauma Exposure and Emotional Dysregulation Through the Fear-potentiated Startle Paradigm.

Past studies have demonstrated that exposure to childhood trauma may result in increased reactivity to stressful stimuli as well as long-term changes in psychophysiological and emotional reactivity. In our lab, we employed a fear-potentiated startle (FPS) paradigm wherein patients were conditioned to form an associated between a neutral conditioned stimulus (CS) and an aversive unconditioned stimulus (US) through a number of pairings such that the mere presentation of the CS will elicit a fear response. This is followed by a period of extinction wherein the US is no longer paired with the CS. By the end of the is period the presentation of the CS should no longer elicit a fear response. A previous paper has demonstrated that those who were exposed to childhood physical abuse demonstrated a heightened baseline startle reactivity. It has also been demonstrate that childhood trauma is a predictor of emotional dysregulation later in life. Those with emotion dysregulation have been shown to have difficulty extinguishing conditioned startle responses. This paper aims to examine the relationship between FPS, childhood trauma, and emotional dysregulation. Participants (N= ) underwent a fear conditioning and completed both an Emotional Dysregulation Scale (EDS) and the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ). We hypothesize that high baseline startle reactions will correlate positively to both childhood trauma and emotional dysregulation. This would suggest that emotional dysregulation may be a manifestation of the neurobiological effects of exposure to childhood trauma.