Affective Lability Moderates the Associations Between Negative and Positive Urgency and Posttraumatic Stress

Alyssa C. Jones, Stephanie Lim, Caitlyn O. Hood, C. Alex Brake, Christal L. Badour

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Urgency and affective lability are two vulnerabilities that have been linked to posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Urgency refers to rash action when experiencing intense positive or negative affect, whereas affective lability is the tendency to shift rapidly between emotion states. Although individuals high in urgency and affective lability may be more likely to engage in behaviors often exhibited by individuals with PTSD (e.g., substance use, risky behaviors), the extent to which urgency and affective lability interact to impact PTSD symptoms has yet to be examined. The current study hypothesized that the association between urgency (negative and positive) and PTSD symptoms would be stronger among those reporting elevated affective lability. Participants included 232 trauma-exposed college students who completed a series of questionnaires. Among individuals low in affective lability, both positive and negative urgency were positively associated with PTSD symptoms. Contrary to hypotheses, among those high in affective lability, positive and negative urgency were not associated with PTSD symptoms. Models with dimensions of affective lability were also examined. Findings suggest that the association between urgency and PTSD symptoms may only emerge among individuals who do not already possess the vulnerability associated with higher affective lability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)265-273
Number of pages9
JournalTraumatology
Volume27
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 American Psychological Association

Keywords

  • affective lability
  • impulsivity
  • posttraumatic stress
  • posttraumatic stress disorder
  • urgency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing (all)
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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