PTSD and Alcohol Misuse: Examining the Mediating Role of Fear of Self-Compassion Among Military Veterans

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Introduction: The co-occurrence of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and alcohol misuse presents a significant clinical concern among military veterans. Fear of self-compassion, the active resistance to thinking and behaving compassionately toward oneself, may be an important consideration that underlies this relation. Objective: The current investigation examined whether self-compassion and fear of self-compassion, separately, mediated the association between PTSD symptoms and alcohol misuse among a sample of military veterans. Method: Data were collected from 203 military veterans (M age = 35.08 years, 77.70% male, 72.2% White) who responded to an online survey. Results: The findings indicated that both self-compassion and fear of self-compassion significantly explained the association between PTSD symptoms and alcohol misuse. Furthermore, fear of self-compassion explained this relation after adjusting for levels of self-compassion. Conclusions: These results suggest that both self-compassion and a fear of self-compassion may be important considerations in the PTSD-alcohol misuse relation; future work should extend these findings in longitudinal and intervention frameworks.

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Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy