Psikhologicheskie Issledovaniya • ISSN 2075-7999
peer-reviewed • open access journal


Sorokko E.A., Padun M.A., Martynova E.N, Lyusin D. Emotional information processing and posttraumatic stress in individuals with high risk of psychological trauma exposure: The case of policemen

Full text in Russian: Сорокко Е.А., Падун М.А., Мартынова Е.Н., Люсин Д.В. Обработка эмоциональной информации и посттравматический стресс у лиц с высоким риском психической травматизации (на выборке сотрудников МВД)

OMVD of Russia in the city of Severodvinsk, Severodvinsk, Russia
Institute of Psychology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia
National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia

About author
Suggested citation

Current article examines mechanisms of attentional biases among policemen whose occupation is related to large amounts of negative emotional information up to the risk of psychological traumatization. Healthy individuals with psychological trauma exposure during professional activity were expected to demonstrate emotional Stroop effect (ESE) in response to stress-related stimuli. One hundred thirty-eight male policemen from the Arkhangelsk region aged from 22 to 50 years participated in the study. To capture ESE, words with neutral and threatening meaning were used. Symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) were measured with the PCL-5; emotion regulation strategies were measured with the Cognitive Emotion Regulation Questionnaire (CERQ).
It was found that response time to stress-related words in the emotional Stroop task was greater compared to neutral words. Two types of ESE, direct and reverse, were identified in the sample. Individuals with reverse ESE processed the professional stress-related stimuli faster compared to neutral stimuli. Policemen with reverse ESE were found to have stronger symptoms of excitability, which is one of the criteria of PTSD. In individuals with reverse ESE, excitability and general index of PTSD positively correlated with the cognitive emotion regulation strategy Other-blame. Word by word analysis found differential effect of threatening words in participants with direct and reverse ESE. The results are discussed in context of the policemen professional activity features.

Key words: attentional bias, emotional Stroop effect, emotion regulation, PTSD 

Full text in Russian >>

M.A. Padun carried out the research in accordance with the State Order of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation № 0138-2021-0005.
D.V. Lyusin and E.N. Martynova carried out this research within the framework of the Basic Ressearch Program of the National Research University Higher School of Economics in 2021.

Cyrillic letters are transliterated according to BSI standards. The titles are given in author’s translation.

Golenkov A.V., Sevast'janov S.N., Kurakina N.G., Lavrent'eva N.V., Golishnikova L.I. Raspros-tranennost' posttravmaticheskih stressovyh rasstrojstv. Vestnik sovremennoj klinicheskoj mediciny, 2014, 7(1), 116-118. (In Russian)

Lyusin D.V., Sysoeva T.A. Jemocional'naja okraska imen sushhestvitel'nyh: baza ENRuN. Psiholog-icheskij zhurnal, 2017, No. 38, 122-131. (In Russian)

Martynova E.N., Shakirova S.A., Ljusin D.V. Vlijanie nastroenija na jemocional'nyj jeffekt Strupa. Doklad na Shestoj konferencii «Kognitivnaja nauka v Moskve: novye issledovanija», 23-24 ijunja 2021 g., Moskva. (In Russian)

Padun M.A. Reguljacija jemocij i psihologicheskoe blagopoluchie: individual'nye, mezhlichnostnye i sociokul'turnye faktory. Psihologicheskij zhurnal, 2019, 40(3), 31-43. (In Russian)

Rasskazova E.I., Leonova A.B., Pluzhnikov I.V. Razrabotka russkojazychnoj versii oprosnika kogni-tivnoj reguljacii jemocij. Vestnik Moskovskogo Universiteta. Psihologija, 2011. 14(4), 161-179. (In Russian)

Sopov M.S. Fenomen Strup-interferencii v kontekste teorij leksicheskogo dostupa. Vestnik SPbGU. Psihologija i Pedagogika, 2018, 8(1), 47-69. (In Russian)

Sysoeva T.A. Jemocional'nyj jeffekt Strupa i ego svjaz' s jemocional'nym intellektom. Psihologija. Zhurnal Vysshej shkoly jekonomiki, 2010, 7(4), 117-125. (In Russian)

Sysoeva, T.A. Mehanizmy jemocional'nogo jeffekta Strupa kak kognitivnye osnovanija jemocion-al'nogo intellekta: dis. kand. psihol. nauk, Ros. gos. gumanitar. un-t., Moskva, 2013. (In Russian)

Sysoeva T.A. Teoreticheskij analiz mehanizmov vozniknovenija jemocional'nogo jeffekta Strupa. Psi-hologija. Zhurnal Vysshej shkoly jekonomiki, 2014, No. 11, 49-65. (In Russian)

Tarabrina N.V., Harlamenkova N.E, Padun M.A. Intensivnyj stress v kontekste psihologicheskoj be-zopasnosti. M.: IP RAN, 2017. (In Russian)

Janushko M.G, Shamanina M.V., Ivanov M.V. Pokazateli kognitivnogo funkcionirovanija u pa-cientov s rekurrentnym depressivnym rasstrojstvom. Social'naja i klinicheskaja psihiatrija, 2017, 27(3), 26-31. (In Russian)

American Psychiatric Association, American Psychiatric Association. DSM 5. American Psychiatric Association, 2013.

Ashley V., Honzel N., Larsen J., Justus T., Swick D. Attentional bias for trauma-related words: ex-aggerated emotional Stroop effect in Afghanistan and Iraq war veterans with PTSD. BMC Psychia-try, 2013, 13(1), 1-11.

Beck A.T., Clark D.A. An information processing model of anxiety: Automatic and strategic process-es. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 1997, 35(1), 49-58. doi:10.1016/s0005-7967(96)00069-1

Bomyea J., Risbrough V., Lang A.J. A consideration of select pre-trauma factors as key vulnerabili-ties in PTSD. Clinical Psychology Review, 2012, 32(7), 630-41. doi: 10.1016/j.cpr.2012.06.008

Bomyea J., Johnson A., Lang A.J. Information processing in PTSD: Evidence for biased attentional, interpretation, and memory processes. Psychopathology Review, 2016, 4(3), 218-243. doi:10.5127/pr.037214

Carlier I.V., Lamberts R.D., Gersons B.P. Risk factors for posttraumatic stress symptomatology in police officers: A prospective analysis. The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 1997, 185(8), 498-506.

Cisler J.M., Wolitzky-Taylor K.B., Adams T.G., Jr., Babson K.A., Badour C.L., Willems J.L. The emotional Stroop task and posttraumatic stress disorder: a meta-analysis. Clinical Psychology Review, 201131(5), 817-28. doi: 10.1016/j.cpr.2011.03.007.

Constans J.I. Information-processing biases in PTSD. Neuropsychology of PTSD: Biological, Cog-nitive, and Clinical Perspectives, 2005, 105-130.

El Khoury-Malhame M., Lanteaume L., Beetz, E.M., Roques J., Reynaud E., Samuelian J.C., Khalfa S. Attentional bias in post-traumatic stress disorder diminishes after symptom amelioration. Behaviour research and therapy, 2011, 49(11), 796-801.

Frings C., Englert J., Wentura D., Bermeitinger, C. Decomposing the emotional Stroop effect. Quar-terly journal of experimental psychology, 2010, 63(1), 42-49.

Gersons B.P. Patterns of PTSD among police officers following shooting incidents: A two-dimensional model and treatment implications. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 1989, 2(3), 247-257.

Imbir K.K., Spustek T., Duda J., Bernatowicz G., Żygierewicz J. N450 and LPC event-related poten-tial correlates of an Emotional Stroop Task with words differing in valence and emotional origin. Frontiers in Psychology, 2017 No. 8, 880.

Korre M., Farioli A., Varvarigou V., Sato S., Kales S.N. A survey of stress levels and time spent across law enforcement duties: police chief and officer agreement. Policing: a Journal of Policy and Practice, 2014, 8(2), 109-122. doi:10.1093/police/pau001.

Kovet N.S., Heller W., Banich M.T., Miller G.A. Relationships of distinct affective dimensions to performance on an emotional Stroop task. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 2003, 27(6), 671-680.

LaGarde G., Doyon J., Brunet A. Memory and executive dysfunctions associated with acute post-traumatic stress disorder. Psychiatry Research, 2010, 177(1-2), 144-149. doi:10.1016/j.psychres.2009.02.002.

Larsen R.J., Mercer K.A., Balota D.A. Lexical Characteristic of Words Used in Emotional Stroop Experiments. Emotion, 2006, No. 6, 60-72.

Maguen S., Metzler T.J., McCaslin S.E., Inslicht S.S., Henn-Haase C., Neylan T.C., Marmar C.R. Routine work environment stress and PTSD symptoms in police officers. The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 2009, 197(10), 754. doi:10.1097/NMD.0b013e3181b975f8.

Maia D. Post-traumatic stress symptoms in an elite unit of Brazilian police officers: Prevalence and impact on psychosocial functioning and on physical and mental health. Journal of Affective Disor-ders, 2007, 97(1-3), 241-5. doi:10.1016/j.jad.2006.06.004.

Mathews A., MacLeod C. Cognitive vulnerability to emotional disorders. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 2005, No. 1, 167-195. doi:10.1146/annurev.clinpsy.1.102803.143916.

Mauer N., Borkenau P. Temperament and early information processing: Temperament related atten-tional bias in emotional Stroop tasks. Personality and Individual Differences. 2007. 43. 5. 1063–1073.

Neylan T.C., Metzler T.J., Best S.R., Weiss D.S., Fagan J.A., Liberman A., Marmar C.R. Critical incident exposure and sleep quality in police officers. Psychosomatic Medicine, 2002, 64(2), 345-352.

Nigg J.T. On inhibition/disinhibition in developmental psychopathology: views from cognitive and personality psychology and a working inhibition taxonomy. Psychological Bulletin, 2000, 126(2), 220.

Phaf R.H., Kan K.-J. The automaticity of emotional Stroop: A meta-analysis. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 2007, No. 38, 184-199.

Putman C.T. Effects of strength, endurance and combined training on myosin heavy chain content and fibre-type distribution in humans. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 2004 92(4-5), 376-384. doi:10.1007/s00421-004-1104-7.

Siakaluk P.D., Knol N., Pexman P.M. Effects of emotional experience for abstract words in the Stroop task. Cognitive Science, 2014, 38(8), 1698-1717.

Stroop J.R. Studies of interference in se¬rial verbal reactions. Journal of Experi¬mental Psycholo-gy, 1935, 18, 643–662.

Violanti J.M., Charles L.E., McCanlies E., Hartley T.A., Baughman P., Andrew M.E., Burch-fiel C.M. Police stressors and health: a state-of-the-art review. Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies and Management, 2017, 40(4), 642-656. doi:10.1108/PIJPSM-06-2016-0097.

Williams J.M., Ellis N.C., Tyers C., Healy H., Rose G., MacLeod A.K. The specificity of autobio-graphical memory and imageability of the future. Memory and Cognition, 1996, 24(1), 116-25. doi:10.3758/BF03197278. 

Received 19 April 2021. Date of publication: 01 September 2021.

About author

Sorokko Еvgenia A. Senior psychologist of the department for work with the personnel of the OMVD of Russia in the city of Severodvinsk, ul. Industrialnaya, 26, 164520 Severodvinsk, Russian Federation. ORCID:
E-mail: Этот адрес электронной почты защищен от спам-ботов. У вас должен быть включен JavaScript для просмотра.

Padun Maria A. PhD in Psychology, senior research assistant, Institute of Psychology, Russian Academy of Sciences, ul. Yaroslavskaya, 13/1, 129366 Moscow, Russia.
E-mail: Этот адрес электронной почты защищен от спам-ботов. У вас должен быть включен JavaScript для просмотра.

Lyusin Dmitry V. PhD in Educational Science, Leading Researcher, Laboratory for Cognitive Research, HSE University, per. Armyansky, 4/2, 101000 Moscow, Russia; Leading Researcher, Laboratory of Psychology and Psychophysiology of Creativity, Institute of Psychology, Russian Acad-emy of Sciences, ul. Yaroslavskaya, 13/1, 129366 Moscow, Russia. ORCID:
Е-mail: Этот адрес электронной почты защищен от спам-ботов. У вас должен быть включен JavaScript для просмотра.

Martynova Ekaterina N. Research Assistant, Laboratory for Cognitive Research, National Research University Higher School of Economics HSE University, per. Armyansky, 4/2, 101000 Moscow, Russia, ORCID:
Е-mail: Этот адрес электронной почты защищен от спам-ботов. У вас должен быть включен JavaScript для просмотра.

Suggested citation

Sorokko E.A., Padun M.A., Martynova E.N, Lyusin D. Emotional information processing and posttraumatic stress in individuals with high risk of psychological trauma exposure: The case of policemen. Psikhologicheskie Issledovaniya, 2021, Vol. 14, No. 78, p. 6.

Permanent URL:

Back to top >>