Posttraumatic Symptomatology and Alcohol Misuse Among Black College Students: Examining the Influence of Anxiety Sensitivity

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Objective: Posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) have been found to be associated with alcohol (mis)use among college students. Anxiety sensitivity has been theoretically and empirically linked to both PTSS and alcohol (mis)use. The goal of the present study was to extend research by examining the relations among PTSS, anxiety sensitivity, and alcohol misuse within a sample of trauma-exposed Black college students. Methods: Participants were 121 Black undergraduate college students who endorsed exposure to a traumatic event (M age = 22.98, 77.7% female). Results: Correlational findings provide support for significant positive relations between PTSS and both anxiety sensitivity and alcohol misuse. Further, analyses revealed a significant indirect effect of anxiety sensitivity on alcohol misuse through PTSS. Specifically, greater anxiety sensitivity was associated with higher levels of PTSS, which, in turn, were associated with higher levels of alcohol misuse. Conclusions: These findings suggest that the assessment of anxiety sensitivity may be useful in identifying trauma-exposed Black individuals who are likely to experience alcohol misuse and the clinical utility of addressing PTSS in this population reporting anxiety sensitivity to possibly prevent alcohol misuse and related negative consequences.

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Journal of Dual Diagnosis