Pain Intensity, Pain-Related Anxiety, and Hazardous Drinking Among Individuals With PTSD

Sarah E. Polhill, Emma C. Lape, Alexa G. Deyo, T. Smit, M. J. Zvolensky, Emily L. Zale, Joseph W. Ditre

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: Evidence suggests that pain intensity may be indirectly linked to hazardous drinking and PTSD symptom severity via pain-related anxiety. The goal of this analysis was to test the hypotheses in a population with PTSD symptoms that pain intensity would be positively and indirectly associated with hazardous drinking, alcohol dependence, alcohol-related problems, and PTSD symptom severity via pain-related anxiety. Methods: Heavy drinkers with probable PTSD were recruited via Qualtrics panels (N = 371, 53% Female, Mage = 39.68, SD = 10.86). Linear regression and conditional process models were conducted to examine indirect associations between pain intensity and primary outcomes via pain-related anxiety. Results: Pain intensity was found to be indirectly associated with hazardous drinking, alcohol dependence, alcohol-related problems, and PTSD symptom severity via greater pain-related anxiety. Conclusion: These initial findings suggest that pain-related anxiety may play an important role in relations between the experience of pain and hazardous patterns of alcohol consumption among individuals with probable PTSD. Future research is needed to determine the temporal nature of these associations and to examine the potential utility of treatments that address pain-related anxiety in the context of comorbid pain, PTSD, and hazardous drinking.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Dual Diagnosis
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

Keywords

  • alcohol
  • pain
  • pain-related anxiety
  • PTSD
  • substance use
  • trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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