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Anxiety, distress tolerance, and the relationship between complex posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms and alcohol use in veterans

Seb Whiteford, Martyn Quigley, Glen Dighton, Katie Wood, Neil Kitchiner, Cherie Armour, Simon Dymond Orcid Logo, Sebastian Whiteford Orcid Logo, Martyn Quigley, Glen Dighton Orcid Logo, Katie Wood

Journal of Clinical Psychology, Volume: 80, Pages: 159 - 168

Swansea University Authors: Simon Dymond Orcid Logo, Sebastian Whiteford Orcid Logo, Martyn Quigley, Glen Dighton Orcid Logo, Katie Wood

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DOI (Published version): 10.1002/jclp.23604

Abstract

Objectives: Little is known about whether distress tolerance and anxiety mediate the relationship between comorbid complex posttraumatic stress disorder (CPTSD) and alcohol use among military veterans. Here, we investigated the contribution of distress tolerance and anxiety on the strength of the CP...

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Published in: Journal of Clinical Psychology
ISSN: 0021-9762 1097-4679
Published: Wiley 2023
Online Access: Check full text

URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa64796
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Abstract: Objectives: Little is known about whether distress tolerance and anxiety mediate the relationship between comorbid complex posttraumatic stress disorder (CPTSD) and alcohol use among military veterans. Here, we investigated the contribution of distress tolerance and anxiety on the strength of the CPTSD and alcohol use association. We hypothesized that the impact of a two-factor model of CPTSD derived from subscale scores on the International Trauma Questionnaire (ITQ)—namely ITQ PTSD and ITQ Disturbances in Self Organization (DSO; e.g., issues with affective regulation/self-belief and shame)—on alcohol use severity would be mediated by anxiety but not by distress tolerance. Methods: Participants included 403 community-dwelling United Kingdom (UK) veterans (91.64% male, Mage = 51.15 years, SD = 12.48) recruited as part of a larger, online study. Results: Findings indicated that the influence of CPTSD symptoms on alcohol use severity was mediated by anxiety, not by distress tolerance, with greater relative impact due to ITQ DSO status than ITQ PTSD status. Conclusions: We identified the mediational influence of anxiety and distress tolerance on the association between CPTSD subscales and alcohol use in UK veterans. Interventions for anxiety may be adapted for reducing problematic alcohol use and the impact of CPTSD symptoms in veterans with comorbid PTSD and alcohol use disorder.
Keywords: Alcohol use, anxiety complex, PTSD, disorders of self-organization, distress tolerance, veterans
College: Faculty of Medicine, Health and Life Sciences
Funders: This work was supported by a grant from Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT17/0510S).
Start Page: 159
End Page: 168