Date of Completion


Document Type

Honors College Thesis


Psychological Science

Thesis Type

Honors College, College of Arts and Science Honors

First Advisor

Matthew Price


stress, trauma, impulsivity, fear response


The majority of adults will experience a traumatic event, although only a minority (25%) of people exposed to a potentially traumatic event (PTE) develop Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) within 12 months (Zatzick et al., 2007). This discrepancy underscores the importance of identifying risk factors that predict and contribute to the likelihood of developing PTSD. Individuals with PTSD face an increased risk for engaging in impulsive behaviors including substance abuse, risky sexual behaviors, self-harm, and disordered eating. The presence of these behaviors exacerbates impairments associated with PTSD and complicates the treatment and recovery processes (Roley et al., 2017; Goldstein et al., 2016). Using statistical methods in the R computing environment, the present project examined the associations between difficulty extinguishing a fear-potentiated startle response and impulsivity behavior among adults with PTSD. An association was expected between increased impulsive behaviors and decreased ability to inhibit learned fear within adults with PTSD. Preliminary data analyses showed no significant interaction between participants’ ability to extinguish conditioned fear and impulsive behaviors.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.