Journal of Trauma & Treatment

ISSN: 2167-1222

Open Access

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


Helane Wahbeh and Barry Oken

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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