PTSD's risky behavior criterion: Relation with DSM-5 PTSD symptom clusters and psychopathology

Ateka A. Contractor*, Nicole H. Weiss, Paula Dranger, Camilo Ruggero, Cherie Armour

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


A new symptom criterion of reckless and self-destructive behaviors (E2) was recently added to posttraumatic stress disorder's (PTSD) diagnostic criteria in DSM-5, which is unsurprising given the well-established relation between PTSD and risky behaviors. Researchers have questioned the significance and incremental validity of this symptom criterion within PTSD's symptomatology. Unprecedented to our knowledge, we aim to compare trauma-exposed groups differing on their endorsement status of the risky behavior symptom on several psychopathology constructs (PTSD, depression, distress tolerance, rumination, anger). The sample included 123 trauma-exposed participants seeking mental health treatment (M age=35.70; 68.30% female) who completed self-report questionnaires assessing PTSD symptoms, depression, rumination, distress tolerance, and anger. Results of independent samples t-tests indicated that participants who endorsed the E2 criterion at a clinically significant level reported significantly greater PTSD subscale severity; depression severity; rumination facets of repetitive thoughts, counterfactual thinking, and problem-focused thinking; and anger reactions; and significantly less absorption and regulation (distress tolerance facets) compared to participants who did not endorse the E2 criterion at a clinically significant level. Results indicate the utility of the E2 criterion in identifying trauma-exposed individual with greater posttraumatic distress, and emphasize the importance of targeting such behaviors in treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-222
Number of pages8
JournalPsychiatry Research
Early online date06 Mar 2017
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jun 2017


  • Anger
  • Depression
  • Distress tolerance
  • DSM-5
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder
  • Risky behaviors
  • Rumination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


Dive into the research topics of 'PTSD's risky behavior criterion: Relation with DSM-5 PTSD symptom clusters and psychopathology'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this