Distress tolerance and posttraumatic stress disorder: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Academic Article uri icon


  • The association between distress tolerance (DT) and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is well established. This study aimed to provide an account of the magnitude of this effect across available studies. From the 2,212 records yielded by the initial search, 56 studies comprised 12,672 participants (Mage=29.96, SD=12.05; 44.94% women) were included in the investigation upon a priori criteria. Results demonstrated consistent negative associations between DT and PTSD symptoms, such that lower DT was associated with higher PTSD symptom severity and vice versa; the effect size (ES) was relatively small in magnitude (r=-0.335, 95% CI [-0.379, -0.289]). Moreover, ESs for the DT-PTSD association were significantly greater for studies which examined self-reported DT compared to those that examined behavioral DT. The number of traumatic event types experienced (trauma load) was the most consistent moderator of the DT and PTSD association. The clinical implications of the role of DT in PTSD are discussed.

published proceedings

  • Cogn Behav Ther

altmetric score

  • 2.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Akbari, M., Hosseini, Z. S., Seydavi, M., Zegel, M., Zvolensky, M. J., & Vujanovic, A. A.

citation count

  • 37

complete list of authors

  • Akbari, Mehdi||Hosseini, Zahra Sadat||Seydavi, Mohammad||Zegel, Maya||Zvolensky, Michael J||Vujanovic, Anka A

publication date

  • January 2022