A test of whether coping styles moderate the effect of PTSD symptoms on alcohol outcomes.
Coping style may partially account for the frequent co-occurrence of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and alcohol-use disorder (AUD). We hypothesized that avoidant and action-oriented coping styles would moderate the association between PTSD symptom severity and alcohol outcomes among U.S. Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom veterans, such that PTSD symptoms would be most strongly and positively associated with negative alcohol-related consequences and drinking quantity when action-oriented coping was low and avoidant coping was high. The sample (N = 128; 85.2% male, M = 37.8 years old, 63.3% Caucasian) completed a diagnostic assessment for PTSD and AUD and self-report surveys measuring coping styles, drinking quantity, and negative alcohol-related consequences. Consistent with the main hypothesis, a 3-way interaction among PTSD symptom severity, avoidant coping, and action-oriented coping was found in the predicted direction (d = 0.47-0.55). Post hoc descriptive analyses indicated that veterans with a current diagnosis of PTSD, low action-oriented coping, and high avoidant coping had worse alcohol outcomes and were twice as likely to meet criteria for current AUD compared with veterans with fewer risk factors. Findings suggest that the combination of PTSD and maladaptive coping styles may be more important for understanding alcohol-related outcomes than the presence of any of these variables in isolation.
Grosso, JA; Kimbrel, NA; Dolan, S; Meyer, EC; Kruse, MI; Gulliver, SB; Morissette, SB
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