Posttraumatic stress and risky sex in trauma-exposed college students: the role of personality dispositions toward impulsive behavior

Jessica Flores, C. Alex Brake, Caitlyn O. Hood, Christal L. Badour

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objectives: Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has been linked to risky sexual behavior (RSB). However, little is known regarding the role of impulsivity in this relation among college students. Participants: The present study examined the moderating role of impulsivity dispositions on the relation between PTSD symptoms and past-year RSB in a sample of 221 trauma-exposed undergraduate students (77.4% female). Results: Two separate negative binomial regression models examined each impulsivity disposition’s unique moderating effect on the association between PTSD symptoms and high risk/casual sex. In the high risk model, significant interactions were found for the urgency dispositions, (lack of) premeditation and (lack of) perseverance, though the pattern of these relations differed across these dispositions. Only positive main effects for negative urgency and (lack of) premeditation emerged in the casual sex model. Conclusions: The present study expands on the limited literature on the role of impulsivity in the relation between PTSD and RSB in trauma-exposed college students.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1711-1723
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of American College Health
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Office of Women’s Health Research and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) (K12 DA035150; T32 DA035200) through the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This publication’s contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of NIH.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


  • PTSD
  • college students
  • impulsivity
  • risky sex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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