ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

Acta Psychologica Sinica ›› 2022, Vol. 54 ›› Issue (2): 168-181.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2022.00168

• Reports of Empirical Studies • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Effects of vulnerable personality traits of PTSD, working memory abilities and peritraumatic cognitive processing on analogue traumatic flashbacks

WANG Ming1, SUN Qiwu2, LIU Jing3, REN Zhihong2(), JIANG Guangrong2()   

  1. 1Center for Mental Health Education, Wuhan University of Technology, Wuhan 430070, China
    2Key Laboratory of Adolescent Cyberpsychology and Behavior (CCNU), Ministry of Education; School of Psychology, Central China Normal University; Key Laboratory of Human Development and Mental Health of Hubei Province, Wuhan 430079, China
    3School of Humanities, Hubei University of Chinese Medicine, Wuhan 430065, China
  • Received:2021-03-24 Published:2022-02-25 Online:2021-12-24
  • Contact: REN Zhihong,JIANG Guangrong;
  • Supported by:
    general project of National Natural Science Foundation of China(32171086);major project of the National Social Science Foundation of China(16ZDA232);Key Laboratory of adolescent network psychology and behavior of the Ministry of Education(Central China Normal University);open project fund of Key Laboratory of Human Development and Mental Health of Hubei Province(20160103);open project fund of Key Laboratory of Human Development and Mental Health of Hubei Province(2019B01)


Based on the paradigm of analogue trauma, this study aimed to examine the effects of vulnerable personality traits of PTSD (trait anxiety, trait dissociation and neuroticism), working memory abilities (attentional control and working memory capacity) and peritraumatic cognitive processing (data-driven processing and conceptual processing) on flashbacks in different periods after analogue trauma. Road traffic accidents films were applied as analogue trauma in 159 healthy college students. Structural equation model (SEM) was used for data analyses. Results showed that: (1) data-driven processing positively predicted the number, vividness, distress level of all three kinds of flashbacks in different periods (i.e., immediate, one-week and triggered) and one-week frequency of intrusion; (2) neuroticism positively predicted distress level of triggered flashback, while attentional control and working memory capacity negatively predicted one-week frequency of intrusion; (3) conceptual processing played a mediating role between attentional control and distress level of immediate flashback. These findings suggest that data-driven processing is the main factor influencing flashbacks in different periods after trauma; conceptual processing mainly affects the early acute stress response, while attentional control functions as a protective factor; neuroticism and working memory ability have long-term effects on flashback, and working memory ability serves as a protective factor.

Key words: analogue trauma, flashback (intrusive imagery), personality trait, working memory ability, peritraumatic cognitive processing