Combat deployment enhances risk for posttraumatic stress symptoms. We assessed whether attention bias modification training (ABMT), delivered immediately prior to combat, attenuates the association between combat exposure and stress-related symptoms. 99 male soldiers preparing for combat were randomized to receive either an ABMT condition designed to enhance vigilance toward threat or an attention control training (ACT) designed to balance attention deployment between neutral and threat words. Frequency of combat events, and symptoms of PTSD and depression were measured prior to deployment and at a two-month follow-up. Regression analysis revealed that combat exposure uniquely accounted for 4.6% of the variance in stress-related symptoms change from baseline to follow-up and that the interaction between ABMT and combat exposure accounted for additional 5.4% of the variance. Follow-up analyses demonstrate that ABMT moderated the association between combat exposure and symptoms. ABMT appear to have potential as a preventative intervention to reduce risk for stress-related symptoms associated with combat exposure.
- Attention bias modification training (ABMT)