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15-08-2018

Extinction Learning as a Potential Mechanism Linking High Vagal Tone with Lower PTSD Symptoms among Abused Youth

Tijdschrift:
Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology
Auteurs:
Jessica L. Jenness, Adam Bryant Miller, Maya L. Rosen, Katie A. McLaughlin
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Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s10802-018-0464-0) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Abstract

Childhood abuse is a potent risk factor for psychopathology, including posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Research has shown high resting vagal tone, a measure of parasympathetic nervous system function, protects abused youth from developing internalizing psychopathology, but potential mechanisms explaining this effect are unknown. We explored fear extinction learning as a possible mechanism underlying the protective effect of vagal tone on PTSD symptoms among abused youth. We measured resting respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA) and skin conductance responses (SCR) during a fear conditioning and extinction task in youth with variability in abuse exposure (N = 94; aged 6–18 years). High RSA predicted lower PTSD symptoms and enhanced extinction learning among abused youths. In a moderated-mediation model, extinction learning mediated the association of abuse with PTSD symptoms only among youth with high RSA. These findings highlight extinction learning as a possible mechanism linking high vagal tone to decreased risk for PTSD symptoms among abused youth.

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Extra materiaal
Supplemental Table 1 (DOCX 15 kb)
10802_2018_464_MOESM1_ESM.docx
Supplemental Table 2 (DOCX 62 kb)
10802_2018_464_MOESM2_ESM.docx
Supplemental Fig. 1 Fear conditioning task (JPG 68 kb)
10802_2018_464_MOESM3_ESM.jpg
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