Relations among Childhood Trauma, Executive Control, and Induced Stress
The present study examined the relation of childhood trauma to executive control and executive control under stress. Participants (N=104) were students, ages 18-22 (Mage=18.97, SD=1.078), at Vanderbilt University. In the first session, participants completed a questionnaire about their experience of childhood trauma and a measure of executive control (the emotional n-back task). In the second session conducted a week later, participants were randomized to either a high or low stress induction. They again completed the executive control task. We hypothesized that: (a) greater levels of early trauma would be associated with worse executive control; and (b) the relation between stress and executive control would be stronger for individuals with high levels of childhood trauma. Results of the study were not consistent with the hypotheses, although post hoc exploratory analyses were in the expected direction. Limitations of the study included the small sample size and possible limited variability on the measures of trauma and executive control. Suggestions for future research are discussed.