Category: PTSD

PS15- #C94 - Negative Affect, Anxiety Sensitivity, and Intolerance of Uncertainty: Associations With PTSD Symptom Clusters

Sunday, Nov 19
9:00 AM – 10:00 AM
Location: Indigo Ballroom CDGH, Level 2, Indigo Level

Keywords: PTSD (Posttraumatic Stress Disorder) | Anxiety Sensitivity

The hierarchical model of emotional disorders, as proposed by Norton and colleagues links negative affect (NA) to anxiety disorders through cognitive risk factors such as Anxiety Sensitivity (AS) and Intolerance of Uncertainty (IU). Even though AS and IU have been recognized as risk factors of PTSD, few studies have applied this model to posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Furthermore, evidenc­e about the relations of AS and IU with PTSD symptom clusters (Re-experiencing, Emotional Numbing, Avoidance, and Hyperarousal) has been inconsistent.


The goal of the current study was to examine the hierarchical model of emotional disorders in PTSD symptom clusters. In the current study, 201 people (M age = 37.13, SD = 15.88; 53% female) who experienced one or more traumatic events (33.8% receiving a PTSD diagnosis) were administered self-report measures to assess NA, AS, IU, and PTSD symptoms. The direct and then indirect relations between NA and PCL-5 subscales were examined using structural equation modeling. In the direct effects model, NA was significantly associated with Re-experiencing (β= .68, p < .001, R2 = .46), Avoidance (β= .57, p < .001, R2 = .33), Emotional Numbing (β= .70, p < .001, R2 = .48), and Hyperarousal (β= .81, p < .001, R2 = .64). In the indirect effects model, the relation between NA and Re-experiencing was both direct (β= .50, p < .001) and indirect, through AS (β= .22, 95% confidence interval [CI; .10, .33]). The relation between NA and Avoidance was both direct (β= .29, p < .01) and indirect, through AS (β= .23, 95% CI [.09, .36]). The relation between NA and Emotional Numbing was both direct (β= .45, p < .001) and indirect, through AS (β= .13, 95% CI [.01, .23]) as well as through IU (β= .12, 95% CI [.02, .21]). Finally, the relation between NA and Hyperarousal was both direct (β= .53, p < .001) and indirect, through AS (β= .17, 95% CI [.06, .28]) as well as through IU (β= .11, 95% CI [.01, .20]).


The results of the study are consistent with the hierarchical model of emotional disorders and demonstrate that relations between NA and all PTSD symptom clusters could be partially explained through AS. The relations between NA and Hyperarousal and Emotional Numbing clusters were partially explained through IU as well. It is possible that PTSD treatments could benefit from incorporating AS into general intervention and targeting IU in patients high on Hyperarousal and Emotional Numbing.

Kateryna Kolnogorova

Doctorate Student
Ohio University
Athens, Ohio

Amanda MEDLEY.. Raines

Post-Doctoral Fellow
Southeast Louisiana Veterans HealthCare System (SLVHCS)

Mary E. Oglesby

Student
Florida State University
Tallahassee, Florida

Norman B. Schmidt

Professor
Florida State University

Nicholas P. Allan

Assistant Professor
Ohio University