Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Identifier

6531

Date

2019

Date of Award

12-10-2019

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Major

Psychology

Committee Chair

Meghan McDevitt-Murphy

Committee Member

James Murphy

Committee Member

Nicholas Simon

Abstract

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can be characterized in terms of respondent and operant conditioning, resulting in avoidance that is ultimately detrimental. Avoidance as negative reinforcement becomes paramount to all other reinforcement, precluding engagement with positive reinforcers. This overvaluation of avoidance may be conceptualized as a reinforcer pathology (i.e., excessive preference for and valuation of an immediate reinforcer). The current study offers an initial evaluation of this theoretical framework. The relationships between PTSD severity and select behavioral economic variables (i.e. future orientation, reward availability, and delay discounting) were evaluated. Total PTSD severity was inversely related to reward availability and future orientation, but not delay discounting. Avoidance was inversely related to total reward availability and environmental reward availability. Hyperarousal was inversely related to hedonic reward availability and future orientation. Together, these findings offer initial evidence of a behavioral economic model of PTSD in which avoidance acts as a reinforcer pathology.

Comments

Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.

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