Posttraumatic stress and substance use among military veterans: Associations with distress intolerance and anxiety sensitivity. Academic Article uri icon


  • The co-occurrence of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and substance use disorders (SUD) is highly prevalent among military veterans and represents a difficult-to-treat comorbidity. Distress intolerance (DI; i.e., the perceived inability to tolerate negative emotional states) and anxiety sensitivity (AS, i.e., the fear of anxiety-related sensations) are two promising targetable mechanisms with potential to predict and improve treatment outcomes for veterans with PTSD/SUD. We hypothesized that PTSD symptom severity would be related to (a) alcohol use severity and (b) drug use severity through DI and AS, evaluated concurrently. Participants included 120 military veterans (98.3% male; Mage=41.41, SD=10.77) presenting for psychological services at a Veterans Affairs PTSD/SUD clinic. Results indicated that PTSD symptom severity was related to alcohol use severity through AS, but not DI; and PTSD symptom severity was related to drug use severity through DI, but not AS. Clinical and research implications are discussed.

published proceedings

  • Addict Behav

author list (cited authors)

  • Vujanovic, A. A., McGrew, S. J., Walton, J. L., & Raines, A. M.

citation count

  • 6

complete list of authors

  • Vujanovic, Anka A||McGrew, Shelby J||Walton, Jessica L||Raines, Amanda M

publication date

  • March 2022