Neural correlates of reexperiencing, avoidance, and dissociation in PTSD: symptom dimensions and emotion dysregulation in responses to script-driven trauma imagery

J Trauma Stress. 2007 Oct;20(5):713-25. doi: 10.1002/jts.20284.


Research suggests that responses to script-driven trauma imagery in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) include reexperiencing and dissociative symptom subtypes. This functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study employed a dimensional approach to characterizing script-driven imagery responses, using the Responses to Script-Driven Imagery Scale and correlational analyses of relationships between severity of state posttraumatic symptoms and neural activation. As predicted, state reexperiencing severity was associated positively with right anterior insula activity and negatively with right rostral anterior cingulate cortex (rACC). Avoidance correlated negatively with rACC and subcallosal anterior cingulate activity. In addition, as predicted, dissociation correlated positively with activity in the left medial prefrontal and right superior temporal cortices, and negatively with the left superior temporal cortex. Theoretical and clinical implications are discussed, particularly with respect to an emotion-dysregulation account of PTSD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain / physiology
  • Emotions*
  • Female
  • Gyrus Cinguli / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Imagination / physiology*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Mental Recall / physiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology*
  • United States
  • Wounds and Injuries*