Title

Posttraumatic stress disorder and substance use: Identifying the underlying role of difficulties regulating positive emotions

Document Type

Article

Date of Original Version

9-1-2019

Abstract

The co-occurrence of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)and substance use is clinically-relevant. Emotion dysregulation is one factor that has been shown to underlie this association. However, literature in this area has been limited in its exclusive focus on emotion dysregulation stemming from negative emotions. The goal of the current study was to extend prior research by exploring the role of difficulties regulating positive emotions in the associations between PTSD symptom severity and both alcohol use and problems from drug use. Participants were 463 trauma-exposed individuals recruited from Amazon's MTurk (M age = 35.66 years; 55.7% female; 76.6% White). PTSD symptom severity, difficulties regulating positive emotions, alcohol use, and problems from drug use demonstrated significant positive zero-order correlations. Further, difficulties regulating positive emotions were found to account for the associations between PTSD symptom severity and both alcohol use and problems from drug use. Our results suggest the potential utility of addressing difficulties regulating positive emotions in interventions aimed at reducing substance use and abuse among individuals with PTSD.

Publication Title

Addictive Behaviors

Volume

96

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