Self-mutilative behaviors in male veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder.
Self-mutilative behaviors (SMB) were examined in a sample of male veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The primary objective was to determine the prevalence of SMB and any physical, cognitive, or affective antecedents and correlates for these behaviors. Participants included 509 male veterans with PTSD and levels of PTSD, depression, alcohol use, hostility, and impulsivity were evaluated to determine if these variables were related to SMB. Antecedents and sequelae of SMB were also examined to generate hypotheses regarding the functions of these behaviors. A second type of habit behavior, body-focused repetitive behaviors (BFRB), was also examined as part of the study. Findings indicated that veterans who engaged in either type of habit behavior were younger than those who did not engage in SMB or BFRB. Veterans reporting SMB also reported higher levels of PTSD, depression, hostility, and impulsivity compared to the BFRB and no-habit groups. Examination of habit antecedents and sequelae showed support for the automatic-positive reinforcement function of SMB. These findings are discussed in the context of research and treatment involving male veterans with PTSD who engage in SMB.
Sacks, MB; Flood, AM; Dennis, MF; Hertzberg, MA; Beckham, JC
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