Journal of Abnormal Psychology2014-12-01 12:05 PM

The Temporal Relationship between Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Problem Alcohol Use Following Traumatic Injury

Chronic alcohol abuse is a major public health concern following trauma exposure; however, little is known about the temporal association between posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms and problem alcohol use. The current study examined the temporal relationship between PTSD symptom clusters (re-experiencing, effortful avoidance, emotional numbing, and hyperarousal) and problem alcohol use following trauma exposure. This study was a longitudinal survey of randomly selected traumatic injury patients interviewed at baseline, 3 months, 12 months, and 24 months following injury. Participants were 1,139 injury patients recruited upon admission from 4 Level 1 trauma centers across Australia. Participants were assessed using the Clinician Administered PTSD Scale and Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test. Results indicated that high levels of re-experiencing, effortful avoidance, and hyperarousal symptoms at 12 months were associated with greater increases (or smaller decreases) in problem alcohol use between 12 and 24 months. Findings also suggested that high levels of problem alcohol use at 12 months were associated with greater increases (or smaller decreases) in emotional numbing symptoms between 12 and 24 months. These findings highlight the critical importance of the chronic period following trauma exposure in the relationship between PTSD symptoms and problem alcohol use.

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Journal of Abnormal Psychology

The Journal of Abnormal Psychology publishes articles on basic research and theory in the broad field of abnormal behavior, its determinants, and its correlates.

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