The role of thought suppression in posttraumatic stress disorder


Thirty motor vehicle accident (MVA) survivors with PTSD and 25 without PTSD completed a trauma-related thought-suppression task. Both groups successfully suppressed trauma-related thoughts, followed by a rebound effect for the PTSD group, and no rebound effect for the no-PTSD group, in a replication of previous work (Shipherd & Beck, 1999). Additionally, a personally relevant, neutral thought-suppression task was included to examine the generalizability of thought suppression in PTSD participants. The PTSD group was able to suppress neutral thoughts without a rebound effect, suggesting that increases in suppressed thoughts are specific to trauma-relevant cognitions in individuals with PTSD. The potential role of thought suppression as a maintaining factor for reexperiencing symptoms of PTSD is discussed. © 2005 the Association for Advancement of Behavior Therapy. All rights reserved.

Publication Title

Behavior Therapy