Emotion Regulation Strategy Use: Factor Structure and Differential Associations with PTSD Symptom Clusters
Type of DegreeDissertation
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Emotion regulation (ER) strategies are theorized to play a prominent role in the development and maintenance of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Although a link has been established between several ER strategies and PTSD symptoms, a number of critical issues have yet to be fully addressed in this literature. These involve key questions such as what factor structure underlies ER strategy use, which strategies are most predictive of PTSD symptoms, which PTSD symptom clusters are best predicted by ER strategies, and what the function is of negative affect in the ER-PTSD association. The purpose of the current study was to examine the associations between several ER strategies and PTSD symptom clusters among independent undergraduate and community samples while controlling for negative affect. For ER strategy use, a measurement model treating each strategy as a distinct latent variable best fit the data in both samples. For PTSD symptoms, the seven-factor Hybrid model best fit the data in both samples. In both samples, ER strategies reflecting a pervasive unwillingness to experience unpleasant thoughts and emotions (i.e., experiential avoidance, thought suppression, self-medication) best predicted PTSD symptoms even after controlling for negative affect. A number of implications for the ER-PTSD association and directions for future research are discussed.