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Skin Conductance Response during Laboratory Stress in Combat Veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

May 24, 2013
Helané Wahbeh, ND, MCR

Wahbeh, H., & Oken, B. (2013). Skin conductance response during laboratory stress in combat veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder. Journal of Trauma & Treatment, 2:14613. doi:10.4172/2167-1222.1000167.

Objective: The primary objective was to assess Skin Conductance Response (SCR) to a laboratory stressor in combat veterans with posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) compared to controls. The secondary objective was to evaluate the relationship between SCR and PTSD symptom clusters.

Method: 15 combat/PTSD, 15 combat/no PTSD, 15 no combat/no PTSD veterans had their SCR recording during aversive pictures from the International Affective Picture Scale.

Results: The groups had similar demographics and medical history (all p>0.05). SCR was different between groups (F(2,42)=4.34, p=0.02). The combat/PTSD group had the highest response compared to both control groups. Numbing-avoiding was predictive of SCR (F(1,42)=12.72, p=0.001), while re-experiencing and hyper-arousal were not (p’s>0.05).

Conclusions: Increased SCR in the PTSD group validates previous studies (Numbing-avoiding). PTSD cluster scores correlated with SCR values. These findings support current PTSD therapies that reduce avoidance behaviors.


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