Document Type


Date of Original Version





Post‐traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is characterized by avoidance of trauma‐related emotions. Research indicates that this avoidance may extend to any emotional experience that elicits distress, including those that are unrelated to the trauma. Literature in this area has been limited in its exclusive focus on negative emotions. Despite evidence of gender differences in PTSD and emotional avoidance separately, no studies to date have examined gender as a moderator of their association. The goal of the current study was to extend research by exploring the moderating role of gender in the relation between PTSD symptom severity and positive and negative emotional avoidance. Participants were 276 trauma‐exposed individuals (65.9% female, 65.6% White, Mage = 19.24) from a university in the north‐eastern United States. Moderation results indicated a main effect for PTSD symptom severity on both positive (b = 0.07, p < .001) and negative (b = 0.04, p = .03) emotional avoidance. The interaction of gender and PTSD symptom severity was significant for positive emotion avoidance (b = 0.97, p = .01). Analysis of simple slopes revealed that PTSD symptom severity was significantly associated with positive emotional avoidance for males (b = 0.13, p < .001) but not females (b = 0.03, p = .08). Results suggest the importance of gender‐sensitive recommendations for assessment and treatment of emotional avoidance in PTSD.