Correlates and consequences of emotion regulation difficulties among OEF/OIF/OND veterans.

Michelle M. Pebole, Robert C. Lyons, Robyn L. Gobin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: This study examined trauma frequency, alcohol use, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms as predictors of emotion regulation (ER) difficulties among post-9/11 Veterans. Method: Seventy-four Veterans (95.5% male; mean age = 40; 45.9% Caucasian) completed questionnaires on demographics, PTSD symptoms, ER, trauma frequency, and drinking. Results: Positive correlations were observed between PTSD symptom severity and ER difficulties (r = .6, p < .001) and drinking behavior and emotion dysregulation (r = .25, p < .05). PTSD symptoms above the clinical cutoff resulted in significantly higher ER difficulties than subclinical symptoms, t(66) = –2.975, p < .01). Linear regressions revealed that PTSD accounted for 37% of the variance in ER difficulties, F(1, 66) = 37.34, p < .05. Cluster C was the only significant predictor of Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale (DERS) total scores (B = 1.40, p < .05). Regression analyses on DERS subscales were also examined. Both PTSD Checklist–Specific (PCL-S) total and Cluster C significantly predicted the subscales of nonacceptance (PCL-S total, B = .30, p < .001; Cluster C, B = .45, p < .05) and clarity (PCL-S total, B = .12, p < .05; Cluster C, B = .31, p < .05). PCL-S total predicted strategies (PCL-S total, B = .43, p < .01). PCL-S total was the only significant predictor of the DERS subscales of goals (B = .21, p < .001) and impulse (B = .27, p < .001). There were no significant predictors for the subscale of awareness. Conclusion: The findings will aid the development of targeted intervention strategies in Veterans. <strong xmlns:lang="en">Clinical Impact Statement—The information gained from this study can be used to improve health outcomes among military Veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) by improving the effectiveness of screening for and treatment of emotion dysregulation. By examining potential predictors of emotion regulation (ER) difficulties, this study provides a more in-depth understanding of the relationship between PTSD symptoms and ER difficulties. Understanding the contributors and predictors of ER can help identify aspects of PTSD symptomatology that contribute to ER difficulties, which can then be targeted during treatment. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved)

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)326-335
Number of pages10
JournalPsychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2022


  • alcohol
  • posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • treatment
  • Veteran

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology


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