Posttraumatic stress disorder assessments typically require individuals to provide an aggregate report on the frequency or severity of symptoms they have experienced over a particular time period. Yet retrospective aggregate assessments are susceptible to memory recall and retrieval difficulties. This study examined the correspondence between a month of real-time experience sampling methodology (ESM) reports of traumatic stress symptoms and a retrospective assessment of past-month traumatic stress symptoms for that same period. Participants were a convenience community sample (n=96) from Southern and Central Israel exposed to rocket fire during the Israel-Gaza July-Aug 2014 conflict. Participants provided ESM reports on traumatic stress symptoms twice a day for 30 days via smartphone. Average ESM scores, rather than peak or most recent reports, were most highly correlated with retrospective assessments. For individual symptoms, concentration difficulties had the highest correspondence between ESM and retrospective reports, while amnesia had the lowest correspondence. Regression analysis found that average ESM scores and younger age significantly predicted past-month retrospective assessments of PTSD symptoms. Additionally, previously experiencing more types of trauma predicted PTSD symptoms, but did not moderate the relationship between ESM and retrospective assessments. These findings have implications for assessment.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation (Narsad Young Investigator Award to TG; 23524), The Moshe Hess Foundation (TG and MG) NATAL: Israel Trauma and Resiliency Center (MG), and the Israel Science Foundation (TG and MG; 1244/16).
© 2021 Elsevier B.V.
- Ecological momentary assessment
- Experience sampling method
- Posttraumatic Stress
- recall bias
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health
- Biological Psychiatry