Posttraumatic Stress Disorderʼs Underlying Dimensions and Their Relation With Impulsivity Facets

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 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 symptom clusters and impulsivity subscales in an effort to assess the specific impulsivity component most related to PTSD's alterations in arousal/reactivity and alterations in mood/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) sensation-seeking 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
JournalThe Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 2016


  • PTSD
  • impulsivity
  • sensation seeking tendencies
  • alteration in arousal/reactivity
  • negative alteration in mood and cognitions


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