Posttraumatic stress disorder's underlying dimensions and their relation with impulsivity facets

Ateka A. Contractor*, Cherie Armour, David Forbes, Jon D. Elhai

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Research indicates a significant relationship between posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and impulsivity (Kotler, Julian, Efront, and Amir, J Nerv Ment Dis 189: 162-167, 2001; Ledgerwood and Petry, J Trauma Stress 19: 411-416, 2006). The present study assessed relations between PTSD symptomclusters and impulsivity subscales in an effort to assess the specific impulsivity component most related to PTSD's alterations in arousal/reactivity and alterations inmood/cognitions symptoms. In the current study, the PTSD Checklist for Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition, and the UPPS Impulsivity Scale were administered to a sample of 412 nonclinical subjects with a trauma history. Results indicated that PTSD's alterations in arousal/reactivity and mood/cognition factors were most related to impulsivity's sensation-seeking tendency compared with other impulsivity components. Results highlight the importance of assessing and addressing (1) sensationseeking tendencies and (2) urges to act impulsively when experiencing negative affect in trauma treatment. Furthermore, it is possible that sensation-seeking tendencies are primarily driving the comorbidity between PTSD and certain impulsive behaviors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20-25
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Nervous and Mental Disease
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jan 2016


  • Alteration in arousal/reactivity
  • Impulsivity
  • Negative alteration in mood and cognitions
  • PTSD
  • Sensation-seeking tendencies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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