Title

Emotion dysregulation facets as mediators of the relationship between PTSD and alcohol misuse

Abstract

Introduction: Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and alcohol misuse, which frequently co-occur among combat veterans, have been linked to emotion dysregulation. Emotion dysregulation may explain the link between PTSD and alcohol misuse, and this investigation tested emotion dysregulation as a mediator of that relationship. Method: Correlations between PTSD symptoms and cluster symptoms, emotion dysregulation full and subscales, and alcohol misuse were examined in a sample of 139 combat Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation New Dawn veterans (45% African American; 89% men). Emotion dysregulation full scale and subscales were examined as mediators of the relationship between PTSD symptoms and alcohol misuse for the full sample and men only. Results: PTSD symptoms and symptom clusters, emotion dysregulation, and alcohol misuse showed positive correlations for the full sample and men only. Neither the full scale of emotion dysregulation nor the facets of emotion dysregulation mediated the relationship between PTSD symptoms and alcohol misuse for the full sample; among men, the Impulse Control Difficulties when Upset and Lack of Emotional Clarity subscales were mediators of that relationship. Conclusions: Impulse control difficulties and lack of emotional clarity may play an important role in the link between PTSD and alcohol misuse for male veterans and should be an important target in treatment for individuals with both disorders. Addressing impulse control difficulties and lack of emotional clarity in those with PTSD and alcohol misuse may improve outcomes by helping individuals identify and describe upsetting emotions and develop healthy coping alternatives to alcohol misuse.

Publication Title

Addictive Behaviors

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