The Effects of the Processing of Positive Memories Technique on Posttrauma Affect and Cognitions Among Survivors of Trauma: Protocol for a Daily Diary Study

Talya Greene, Ateka A. Contractor, Sheila Daniela Dicker-Oren, Andrea Fentem, Sharon R. Sznitman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The Processing of Positive Memories Technique (PPMT) is a promising new treatment approach for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which involves detailed narration and processing of specific positive autobiographical memories. Indeed, preliminary case-series studies have found reductions in PTSD symptoms, negative affect, and negative cognitions among survivors of trauma who have received PPMT. However, PPMT's effects have not been investigated at the daily level. In this study, we describe the protocol for a study that will examine the daily-level impacts of PPMT in a trauma-exposed, nonclinical community sample. Objective: This study uses an innovative research protocol that combines case-series design and daily diary approaches to examine changes in daily affect, daily cognitions, and daily PTSD symptoms pre- and post-PPMT. We hypothesize that at the daily level, in comparison to their own pre-PPMT levels, following the PPMT intervention, participants will report (1) a lower count of endorsed daily PTSD symptoms, (2) increases in daily positive affect and decreases in daily negative affect, (3) increases in positive affect reactivity to daily positive events, and (4) decreases in daily posttrauma cognitions. Methods: We are currently recruiting participants (target n=70) from a metroplex in the southwest United States. Following a screening survey, eligible participants complete a preintervention baseline survey, followed by 21 daily surveys in their natural environments. Then, they receive 4 PPMT sessions on a weekly basis. After the conclusion of the PPMT intervention, participants complete a postintervention outcome survey and 21 daily surveys. To compare daily affect, daily cognitions, and daily PTSD symptoms before and after PPMT, we will use the daily diary report data and conduct multilevel random intercepts and slopes linear regression models. Results: Data collection was initiated in March 2022 and is expected to end by June 2024. As of November 28, 2023, a total of 515 participants had consented to the study in the screening phase. No analyses will be conducted until data collection has been completed. Conclusions: Study findings could clarify whether deficits in positive autobiographical memory processes may also characterize PTSD alongside deficits in traumatic memory processes. Furthermore, PPMT could be an additional therapeutic tool for clinicians to help clients reduce posttraumatic distress in their everyday lives.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere51838
JournalJMIR Research Protocols
Issue number1
StatePublished - 12 Jan 2024

Bibliographical note

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  • affect
  • case series design
  • cognitions
  • experience sampling
  • intensive longitudinal assessment
  • positive autobiographical memories
  • posttrauma health
  • posttraumatic stress disorder
  • trauma survivors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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