The impact of ecological momentary assessment on posttraumatic stress symptom trajectory

Daniel Dewey, Molly K. McDonald, Wilson J. Brown, Steven J. Boyd, Brian E. Bunnell, David Schuldberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Ecological momentary assessment includes continuous, real-time gathering of self-report data in a participant's natural environment. The current study evaluated the possible impact of this assessment strategy on severity of posttraumatic stress (PTS) in a sample of participants who reported experiencing a past traumatic event. Participants with clinically elevated PTS symptoms reported symptom severity at three time-points: during an initial screening, following an unmonitored period, and following two weeks of monitoring. During the monitoring period, participants carried an Android device which prompted them to report PTS symptoms and negative emotions six times daily. PTS severity scores were then compared across these three time-points. Results indicated that participating in the ecological momentary assessment protocol was associated with a significant reduction in PTS severity, whereas significant changes were not noted over the unmonitored control condition. The authors conclude that ecological momentary assessment may have therapeutic value even when not combined with formal intervention, and it may be a useful tool for improving the efficiency of a stepped-care approach to treating PTS symptoms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)300-303
Number of pages4
JournalPsychiatry Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 15 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Ecological momentary assessment
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder
  • Self-monitoring
  • Traumatic stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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