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Impulsivity interacts with momentary PTSD symptom worsening to predict alcohol use in male veterans.

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    • Abstract:
      Background: Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is prevalent among veterans who served post-9/11, and co-occurs with problem alcohol and substance use. Studies using ecological momentary assessment have examined the temporal association between time-varying PTSD symptoms and alcohol use. Results suggest individual differences in these associations.Objectives: We tested hypotheses that alcohol use measured by momentary assessment would be explained by acute increases in PTSD symptoms, and the PTSD-alcohol association would be moderated by trait impulsivity.Methods: A sample of 28 male post-9/11-era veterans who reported past-month PTSD symptoms and risky alcohol use were enrolled. On a quasi-random schedule, participants completed three electronic assessments daily for 28 days measuring past 2-h PTSD symptoms, alcohol, and substance use. At baseline, trait impulsivity was measured by the Barratt Impulsiveness Scale. Past-month PTSD symptoms and alcohol use were measured. Using three-level hierarchical models, number of drinks recorded by momentary assessment was modeled as a function of change in PTSD symptoms since last assessment, controlling for lag-1 alcohol and substance use and other covariates. A cross-level interaction tested moderation of the within-time PTSD-alcohol association by impulsivity.Results: A total of 1,522 assessments were completed. A positive within-time association between PTSD symptom change and number of drinks was demonstrated. The association was significantly moderated by impulsivity.Conclusion: Results provide preliminary support for a unique temporal relationship between acute PTSD symptom change and alcohol use among veterans with trait impulsiveness. If replicated in a clinical sample, results may have implications for a targeted momentary intervention. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]