Neural correlates of habitual expressive-suppression in trauma-exposed individuals
Luke Norman 1 , Andrew Iles 2 , Natalia Lawrence 2 , Abdelmalek Benattayallah 3 , and Anke Karl 2
Institute of Psychiatry, Department of Child
and Adolescent Psychiatry, King's College, London,
London, United Kingdom,
Disorders Centre, School of Psychology, University of
Exeter, Exeter, United Kingdom,
MR Research Centre, University of Exeter, Exeter, United
Expressive-suppression is a maladaptive
emotion-regulation method, which is associated with
increased post-traumatic symptoms following trauma.
Thirty-five individuals took part in the first
neuroimaging study of expressive-suppression in a
trauma-exposed population. We found that self-reported
use of expressive-suppression was associated with
decreased activation in the mPFC, and increased
activation in the insula, in an emotional-faces task.
Our findings suggest that deficits in mPFC limbic
circuitry may prompt compensatory use of
expressive-suppression in trauma exposed individuals.
Furthermore, they suggest that insula hyperactivation in
PTSD may partially result from increased habitual
expressive-suppression suppression to emotional material
in this population.
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