Examination of the structural relations between posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms and reckless/self-destructive behaviors.

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Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms commonly co-occur with reckless and self-destructive behaviors (RSDBs; e.g., substance use, aggression). To better understand comorbidity mechanisms between RSDBs and PTSD symptom clusters (best-fitting PTSD model), this study examined their latent-level relations. Methodologically, the current study used a cross-sectional approach administering self-report surveys (PTSD Checklist for Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, measuring PTSD severity and the Posttrauma Risky Behaviors Questionnaire measuring RSDBs) to a convenience sample. The study description (45–60 min survey to develop a posttrauma reckless behaviors measure), compensation, and eligibility information was posted on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk platform. A sample of 417 trauma-exposed community participants averaging 35.92 years of age (56.60% female) was recruited. Confirmatory factor analyses revealed that the seven-factor PTSD hybrid model provided optimal fit to the data. Wald χ2 tests of parameter constraint results indicated the strongest relation of the RSDB factor with PTSD’s Externalizing Behaviors factor (r = .70) and weakest relation with PTSD’s Avoidance factor (r = .37); PTSD’s Anhedonia factor (r = .53) had a stronger relation to the RSDB factor compared with PTSD’s Anxious Arousal factor (r = .43). Results support the construct validity of the PTSD hybrid model factors in relation to RSDBs. Additionally, results indicate that PTSD’s Positive Affect factor may be strongly embedded in the PTSD–RSDB relation, supporting the emotion dysregulation viewpoint and trauma interventions addressing emotion dysregulation (including for positive emotions). Lastly, our study results provide additional psychometric support for the Posttrauma Risky Behaviors Questionnaire. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved)

Publication Title, e.g., Journal

International Journal of Stress Management