Doctor of Philosophy
Date of Defense
Steven E. Bruce, Ph.D.
Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) has been empirically validated as an efficacious treatment for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) (Resick, Nishith, Weaver, Astin, & Feuer, 2002; Cloitre, 2009). However, a deficiency of affect regulation skills may act as a barrier to the successful implementation of CPT in some cases, as CPT does not contain a module that directly addresses affectivity. The current study examined the relationship between affectivity and CPT by utilizing neuroimaging methodology to assess brain regions consistent with an affect regulation model of PTSD. Thirty-eight female interpersonal trauma survivors with PTSD received CPT, participating in assessment and scanning sessions at pre-treatment and post-treatment. The results indicated that CPT does indeed address affectivity over the course of treatment, with treatment completers reporting significantly greater positive affectivity (PA) and reduced negative affectivity (NA) post-treatment. Significant differences were also observed between the treatment completion and treatment dropout groups, such that individuals who dropped out of treatment exhibited lower levels of PA at pre-treatment. With regard to brain structure at pre-treatment, PA was found to exhibit a significant positive association with volume of the right medial frontal gyrus. The relationship between brain function and affectivity was also examined in treatment completers at pre- and post-treatment. The results and implications of this project are discussed.
Brown, Wilson James, "Affectivity, Brain Structure and Function, and Treatment Outcomes in Cognitive Processing Therapy for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder" (2015). Dissertations. 171.