We wanted to investigate whether posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) are related to attentional bias towards cancer-related stimuli among parents of children recently diagnosed with cancer. We conducted a study and included 66 participants. These participants were parents who completed questionnaires measuring posttraumatic stress symptoms, level of depression and anxiety as well as the emotional Stroop task via the Internet. The emotional Stroop task included three types of words: 1) cancer-related words, 2) cardiovascular disease-related words, and 3) neutral words.
Today the results were published in the journal PLoS ONE. In the paper we described how the participants were split in two groups based on their levels of posttraumatic stress symptoms. The statistical analysis revealed that there was a significant interaction between word-type and group and that a planned contrast test of this interaction indicated that the High-PTSS group had longer response latencies on cancer-related words compared to the other word-type and group combinations.
Our findings suggest that posttraumatic stress symptoms are related to attentional bias towards cancer-related stimuli among parents of children recently diagnosed with cancer. Implications of this finding for the understanding of posttraumatic stress symptoms in this population, future research, and clinical practice are discussed in the paper.
Read the full paper:
Cernvall, M., Hovén, E., Ljungman, L., Ljungman, G., Carlbring, P., & von Essen, L. (2016). Posttraumatic Stress and Attentional Bias towards Cancer-Related Stimuli in Parents of Children Recently Diagnosed with Cancer. PLoS ONE, 11(4), e0152778. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0152778