Send to

Choose Destination
J Nerv Ment Dis. 2005 Feb;193(2):102-9.

Behavioral inhibition and activation in posttraumatic stress disorder.

Author information

Department of Psychiatry, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, Texas78229-3900, USA.


Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is characterized by anxiety symptoms and impulsivity and aggression, which are thought to represent examples of excessive behavioral inhibition and activation, respectively. PTSD and traumatized control subjects performed the Stop-Signal Task to assess behavioral activation and inhibition simultaneously. PTSD subjects showed no evidence of the generally increased behavioral inhibition expected to accompany anxiety, but exhibited progressively decreased behavioral activation during acquisition of the task. However, when behavior was facilitated using monetary rewards, both PTSD and traumatized control subjects showed increases in behavioral activation, whereas PTSD subjects also showed significant disinhibition. These findings argue against PTSD patients being chronically inhibited and unresponsive to rewards, and the presence of disinhibition accompanying behavioral activation in these subjects may explain the impulsivity and aggression associated with PTSD.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wolters Kluwer
Loading ...
Support Center