Check out our new paper just out in Nature Human Behaviour!
Anterior prefrontal brain activity during emotion control predicts resilience to post-traumatic stress symptoms
Regulating social emotional actions is essential for coping with life stressors and is associated with control by the anterior prefrontal cortex (aPFC) over the amygdala. However, it remains unclear to what extent prefrontal emotion regulation capacities contribute to resilience against developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms. Here, 185 police recruits who experienced their core trauma in the line of duty participated in a prospective longitudinal study. Pre- and post-trauma, they performed a well-established functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) approach–avoidance task, mapping impulsive and controlled emotional actions. Higher baseline aPFC, dorsal and medial frontal pole activity was related to lower PTSD symptoms after trauma exposure. aPFC activity predicted symptom development over and above self-reported and behavioural measures. Trauma exposure, but not trauma symptoms, predicted amygdala activation at follow-up. These findings suggest that prefrontal emotion regulation activity predicts increased resilience against developing post-traumatic stress symptoms and may provide fruitful starting points for prediction and intervention studies.
Kaldewaij R, Koch SBJ, Hashemi MM, Zhang W, Klumpers F, & Roelofs K. (2021). Anterior prefrontal brain activity during emotion control predicts resilience to post-traumatic stress symptoms. Nature Human Behaviour, link.