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01-06-2014 | Original Article | Uitgave 3/2014

Cognitive Therapy and Research 3/2014

Low Distress Tolerance and Hyperarousal Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms: A Pathway to Alcohol Use?

Cognitive Therapy and Research > Uitgave 3/2014
Sophie Duranceau, Mathew G. Fetzner, R. Nicholas Carleton


Research on substance use suggests that distress tolerance mediates the relationship between posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms and alcohol use; however, given that distress tolerance may represent vulnerabilities for both PTSD symptoms and alcohol use, it may in fact facilitate PTSD and subsequent alcohol use. The present study investigated the relationship between distress tolerance, and alcohol consumption and alcohol-related consequences, with PTSD hyperarousal, re-experiencing, avoidance, and numbing symptoms as mediating variables. A community based North-American sample (n = 146, 81 % = women) completed measures online as part of a larger ongoing study. Results demonstrated that distress tolerance had an indirect effect on alcohol consumption through hyperarousal symptoms but no other PTSD symptoms. No significant relationships were demonstrated with alcohol-related consequences. Findings suggest interventions promoting distress tolerance following trauma exposure may help decrease hyperarousal symptoms and subsequent risk of alcohol-use disorders. Comprehensive results, implications, and future research are discussed.

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