Project Title

Using Fear Potentiated Startle Rate to Examine African American Women with Childhood Trauma Exposure: Are They at Higher Risk for Post-Traumatic Stress Diagnosis?

Presenters

Academic department under which the project should be listed

RCHSS - Psychological Science

Faculty Sponsor Name

Ebony Glover

Abstract (300 words maximum)

Using Fear Potentiated Startle Rate to Examine African American Women with Childhood Trauma Exposure: Are They at Higher Risk for Post-Traumatic Stress Diagnosis?

Kayla Herren, Olivia Lauzon, Jesse Edmond, Bianca Sarrecchia, Royce Alfred, Olivia Tyler, Ebony Glover.

Adolescents exposed to traumatic events during early stages of their lives can experience long lasting effects due to their trauma exposure. Childhood trauma exposure can affect emotion regulation and put adolescents at risk for being diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder later in life. This risk is even higher for African American (AA) women, who are more likely to be exposed to trauma and have higher rates of PTSD than Caucasian American (CA) women. Previous research supports the idea that childhood trauma exposure may affect the emotional response to threating cues, but little research has been done evaluating race differences in emotion regulation in women exposed to childhood trauma. The goal of this study is to compare startle rates of AA women compared to CA women with childhood trauma exposure and evaluate the risk of being diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder. Participants underwent a fear conditioning task and their acoustic startle responses were quantified during presentations of a feared stimulus and during a safe condition. They also completed the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire to determine their degree of exposure to childhood physical, sexual, and emotional abuse. Findings from this research may contribute to our understanding of biological factors contributing to mental health disparities in this country.

Project Type

Poster

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Using Fear Potentiated Startle Rate to Examine African American Women with Childhood Trauma Exposure: Are They at Higher Risk for Post-Traumatic Stress Diagnosis?

Using Fear Potentiated Startle Rate to Examine African American Women with Childhood Trauma Exposure: Are They at Higher Risk for Post-Traumatic Stress Diagnosis?

Kayla Herren, Olivia Lauzon, Jesse Edmond, Bianca Sarrecchia, Royce Alfred, Olivia Tyler, Ebony Glover.

Adolescents exposed to traumatic events during early stages of their lives can experience long lasting effects due to their trauma exposure. Childhood trauma exposure can affect emotion regulation and put adolescents at risk for being diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder later in life. This risk is even higher for African American (AA) women, who are more likely to be exposed to trauma and have higher rates of PTSD than Caucasian American (CA) women. Previous research supports the idea that childhood trauma exposure may affect the emotional response to threating cues, but little research has been done evaluating race differences in emotion regulation in women exposed to childhood trauma. The goal of this study is to compare startle rates of AA women compared to CA women with childhood trauma exposure and evaluate the risk of being diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder. Participants underwent a fear conditioning task and their acoustic startle responses were quantified during presentations of a feared stimulus and during a safe condition. They also completed the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire to determine their degree of exposure to childhood physical, sexual, and emotional abuse. Findings from this research may contribute to our understanding of biological factors contributing to mental health disparities in this country.