Winners of the Student Conference Support Award Announced.

The ASTSS Management Committee are pleased to announce that Selma Music and Erin Brown are the recipients of the ASTSS Student Conference Support Awards for 2016 to attend the 2016 ACOTS Conference (September 8-10) on the Gold Coast. 

The Student Conference Support Award was decided by a small independent subcommittee who reviewed all applicants. Below are the winning abstracts.

Eye-tracking, attention and trauma: Selma Music, Susan Rossell, Joseph Ciorciari

Recent studies have identified three components of attentional bias towards threat in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD): facilitated attention to threat, delayed disengagement from threat, and attentional avoidance of threat. Studies investigating attentional bias show mixed results, with most using heterogeneous PTSD samples. Therefore, delineating the attentional profile of trauma-related mental health (TRMH) disorders while controlling for comorbidity will have significant clinical and theoretical implications. Twenty-eight trauma exposed individuals with varying degrees of TRMH issues were presented with pictorial forced choice eye-tracking tasks. Task one consisted of 16 trials of four emotions (positive, dysphoric, neutral and trauma images) presented simultaneously on the screen for 30 seconds. The control task consisted of 16 trials of four neutral images pseudo-randomly alternated with the four emotion images. Participants viewed the forced choice task while their left eye movements were recorded using the EyeLink 1000. The pilot data will be presented with the various attentional profiles. Results from this study have the potential to further our clinical and theoretical understanding of PTSD by exploring the relationship between the three components of attentional bias and PTSD while controlling for comorbidity. Clinically, habituation to trauma stimuli is linked to a decrease in PTSD symptomatology. However, for habituation to occur, one must intentionally engage with, rather than avoid, trauma related stimuli. Thus, understanding the relationship between attention and PTSD is clinically significant.

Identifying and addressing traumatic experiences in paediatric health care.

Chair: Dr Alexandra De Young, University of Queensland

Erin Brown, Sonja March, Justin Kenardy

Most children will experience at least one potentially traumatic event by adolescence, and unintentional injury is particularly common. Children and their parents are at risk for developing a number of deleterious psychological outcomes following injury (e.g., PTSD, anxiety, depression). Given the large number of children treated in our hospitals each year, it is important to understand the risk factors associated with adverse psychological reactions in children and their parents following medical procedures and to develop and evaluate screens and early intervention programs to prevent the development of persistent traumatic stress reactions. The objective of the symposium is to highlight the importance of post-trauma reactions in children and their parents following medical trauma and to showcase work being undertaken by our research team. Our first speaker, Erin Brown, will discuss how parent distress reactions and coping behaviours influence child distress and pain during a painful medical procedure. Next, Dr Alex De Young will address the complex issue of how to identify and treat young children at risk for developing traumatic stress after a traumatic event. Dr Sonja March will present the results of a randomised control trial evaluating the feasibility of a novel, web-based intervention to prevent posttraumatic stress in children following medical events. Finally, Professor Justin Kenardy will present the results from a randomised control trial that evaluated the efficacy of a child and child-family focused intervention for treating children with PTSD. In sum, this symposium will present cutting-edge research that will advance our understanding of identification and intervention for trauma responses in children across the age range and their parents.



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