Category: Comorbidity - Substance Use and Other

Symposium

Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms and History of Sexual Violence on a Brief Motivational Intervention for Heavy Drinking

Friday, November 17
3:30 PM - 5:00 PM
Location: Aqua Salon E & F, Level 3, Aqua Level

Keywords: Alcohol | Motivational Interviewing | PTSD
Presentation Type: Symposium

Trauma exposed individuals can experience a variety of adverse reactions such as Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD). Additionally, low-income individuals are particularly vulnerable to adverse life events including trauma (Breslau et al., 1998) and report high rates of hazardous drinking (Huckle et al., 2010). While many afflicted individuals do not seek traditional forms of mental health treatment (Kartha et al., 2008), research examining brief interventions for heavy drinking with this at-risk population is limited. Despite the striking rates of co-occurring AUD and PTSD, existing brief interventions for heavy drinking applied to trauma exposed, at-risk populations have neglected to examine the potential implications of trauma history and PTS symptoms on the efficacy of brief alcohol interventions.


The current study aimed to understand the moderating effect of PTS symptoms on alcohol reduction trajectories over time in a sample of at-risk women (n = 199; 71% annual income Regardless of treatment condition, baseline PTSD significantly moderated the reduction of alcohol use from baseline to 9-months post-treatment. Those with clinically significant PTSD at baseline reported heavier drinking and, over time, reduced their heavy drinking more rapidly than those with subclinical PTSD. Moreover, consistent with the self-medication model (Khantzian, 2003), drinking as a means of coping with difficult emotions explained the relation between PTSD and alcohol use. These effects were particularly pronounced for those with a history of sexual violence. These findings suggest a need for an integrated brief intervention targeting PTSD and AUD for at-risk populations in non-traditional settings in an effort to potentially maximize treatment benefits.

Christina Balderrama-Durbin

Assistant Professor of Psychology
Binghamton University

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