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An Examination of the Role of Difficulties Regulating Positive Emotions in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

NCJ Number
Journal of Traumatic Stress Volume: 5 Issue: 31 Dated: October 2018 Pages: 775-780
Date Published
October 2018
6 pages
This study examined the nature of difficulties in regulating positive emotions in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Emotion regulation difficulties have been theoretically and empirically linked to PTSD. Previous research, however, has focused almost exclusively on difficulties regulating negative emotions. In the current study, participants were women who had experienced domestic violence (N = 210; 48.6 percent African American; Mage = 36.14 years). Higher levels of nonacceptance of positive emotions, difficulties engaging in goal©\directed behaviors when experiencing positive emotions, and difficulties controlling impulsive behaviors when experiencing positive emotions were related to a higher level of PTSD symptom severity overall and for the intrusion, avoidance/emotional numbing, and hyperarousal clusters, rs = .24¨C.37. The presence (vs. absence) of a probable PTSD diagnosis was related to greater difficulties engaging in goal©\directed behaviors, d = 0.54, and controlling impulsive behaviors, d = 0.34, when experiencing positive emotions. Results suggest the need to assess and treat difficulties in regulating positive emotions among female domestic-violence victims with PTSD. (publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: October 1, 2018