The role of gender in the associations among posttraumatic stress disorder symptom, severity, difficulties regulating emotions, and alcohol misuse

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Introduction: The co-occurrence of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and alcohol misuse is highly prevalent and clinically significant. Delineating mediators (i.e., emotion regulation) and moderators (i.e., gender) of this co-occurrence is critical to understanding underlying mechanisms of such comorbidity and intervention development/refinement. Method: The present study examined the potential mediating role of difficulties regulating negative and positive emotions in this association as well as the moderating role of gender using a moderated mediation analysis. Participants were 475 trauma-exposed community adults recruited from Amazon's Mechanical Turk (MTurk) platform (Mage = 35.62, 55.4% women, 77.0% White). Results: Difficulties regulating positive (but not negative) emotions significantly mediated the relation between PTSD symptom severity and alcohol misuse. Further, gender was found to significantly moderate each of the paths in this mediation model. Conclusions: Results highlight gender-specific intervention targets for reducing alcohol misuse among trauma-exposed individuals who experience PTSD symptoms.

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Addictive Behaviors