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10-07-2018 | Original Article Open Access

Frequency of Intrusions and Appraisal of Related Distress After Analogue Trauma: A Comparative Ecological Momentary Assessment Methods Study

Cognitive Therapy and Research
Julina A. Rattel, Lisa M. Grünberger, Julia Reichenberger, Michael Liedlgruber, Stephan F. Miedl, Jens Blechert, Frank H. Wilhelm
Belangrijke opmerkingen
Julina A. Rattel and Lisa M. Grünberger have shared first authorship.


Intrusive thoughts, images, and their appraisal remain difficult to study despite their clinical relevance. Clinical studies typically used time-based (frequency and distress per observation period), while analogue studies mainly used event-based (report upon occurrence) assessment. A comparison of intrusion frequency, distress appraisal, compliance, and reactivity across different assessments is mostly lacking, particularly with regard to analogue research. Here, intrusions were induced via aversive films and assessed by a smart phone application for 4 days. Three sampling modes were compared by randomizing participants to one of three conditions: either one, or five time-based daily prompts, or event-based assessment. At the end of the study, all participants reported intrusions once again in a retrospective summary assessment. Results indicate that intrusions and their distress decayed over a few days. The three assessments did not differ in intrusion frequency, distress appraisal, compliance (generally high), reactivity (generally low), or retrospective summary assessment. Across groups, the more aversive and arousing participants rated the film clips and the more reactivity to the electronic-diary assessment they reported, the more intrusive memories they had; assessment modes did not differ on this. Thus, no general differences were found between electronic-diary assessment modes for analogue intrusions, giving researchers flexibility for tailoring ecological momentary assessment to specific study aims.

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