Conditioned Fear Extinction, Neuropsychological, and Psychological Aspects of OCD in a Group of Puerto Ricans: A Pilot Study


  • Stephanie Santiago-Mejías Ponce Health Sciences University
  • Karen Martínez University of Puerto Rico, Medical Sciences Campus, Puerto Rico


Palabras clave:

extinción del miedo, latinos, neuropsicología, trastorno obsesivo-compulsivo


Background: Although culture can affect emotional and behavioral reactions, there is little research on the manifestations of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) among Latinos. Previous studies using a fear extinction model with non-Latino populations showed that individuals with OCD have difficulty maintaining safety memories. Their neuropsychological performance has shown inconsistent findings. We compared Puerto Ricans with OCD and healthy controls in fear extinction retention, neuropsychological performance, and psychological symptoms to enhance understanding of OCD in Puerto Rico. Methods: 17 healthy and 11 Puerto Rican adults with OCD underwent a fear conditioning and extinction paradigm using neutral visual cues that were paired or unpaired with an electric stimulus to elicit skin conductance responses. Neuropsychological tests and psychological self-reports were administered. Results: OCD subjects did not show impaired extinction recall, but showed higher reaction times towards neutral than threat-related words on the Emotional Stroop Task, compared to healthy controls. No differences on neuropsychological tests that lacked emotional content were observed. OCD subjects showed increased symptoms of anxiety, trait anxiety, depression, negative affect, and emotional dysregulation. Conclusions: Puerto Ricans with OCD may have physiological and neuropsychological characteristics that are similar to healthy subjects, but a different psychological profile, which can be used to tailor cultural adaptations of evidence-based treatments for OCD. 


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Cómo citar

Santiago-Mejías, S., & Martínez, K. (2020). Conditioned Fear Extinction, Neuropsychological, and Psychological Aspects of OCD in a Group of Puerto Ricans: A Pilot Study . Revista Caribeña De Psicología, 4(2), 98–113.



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