Extending our understanding of the association between posttraumatic stress disorder and positive emotion dysregulation: A network analysis approach

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Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has empirically-established associations with positive emotion dysregulation. Extending existing research, we utilized a network approach to examine relations between PTSD symptom clusters (intrusions, avoidance, negative alterations in cognitions and mood [NACM], alterations in arousal and reactivity [AAR]) and positive emotion dysregulation dimensions (nonacceptance, impulse control, goal-directed behavior). We identified (1) differential relations of PTSD symptom clusters with positive emotion dysregulation, and (2) central symptoms accounting for the PTSD and positive emotion dysregulation inter-group interconnections. Participants were 371 trauma-exposed community individuals (Mage = 43.68; 70.9 % females; 34.5 % white). We estimated a regularized Gaussian Graphic Model comprising four nodes representing the PTSD symptom clusters and three nodes representing positive emotion dysregulation dimensions. Study results indicated the key role of AAR and intrusions clusters in the PTSD group and impulse control difficulties in the positive emotion dysregulation group. Regarding cross-group connectivity patterns, findings indicate the pivotal role of (1) AAR in its link with positive emotion dysregulation dimensions, and (2) nonacceptance of positive emotions and impairment in goal-directed behavior in the context of positive emotions in their link to PTSD symptom clusters. Thus, the current study indicates the potentially central role of particular PTSD symptom clusters and positive emotion dysregulation dimensions, informing assessment and treatment targets.

Publication Title, e.g., Journal

Journal of Anxiety Disorders