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Differences in Relationship Conflict, Attachment, and Depression in Treatment-Seeking Veterans With Hazardous Substance Use, PTSD, or PTSD and Hazardous Substance Use

NCJ Number
Journal of Interpersonal Violence Volume: 29 Issue: 7 Dated: May 2014 Pages: 1318-1337
Gina P. Owens; Philip Held; Laura Blackburn; John S. Auerbach; Allison A. Clark; Catherine J. Herrera; Jerome Cook; Gregory L. Stuart
Date Published
May 2014
20 pages

Veterans (N = 133) who were seeking treatment in either the Posttraumatic Stress Program or Substance Use Disorders Program at a Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) and, based on self-report of symptoms, met clinical norms for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or hazardous substance use (HSU) completed a survey related to relationship conflict behaviors, attachment styles, and depression severity.


Participants were grouped into one of three categories on the basis of clinical norm criteria: PTSD only, HSU only, and PTSD + HSU. Participants completed the PTSD Checklist-Military, Experiences in Close Relationships Scale-Short Form, Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression scale, Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test, Drug Use Disorders Identification Test, and Psychological Aggression and Physical Violence subscales of the Conflict Tactics Scale. Most participants were male and Caucasian. Significant differences were found between groups on depression, avoidant attachment, psychological aggression perpetration and victimization, and physical violence perpetration and victimization. Post hoc analyses revealed that the PTSD + HSU group had significantly higher levels of depression, avoidant attachment, and psychological aggression than the HSU only group. The PTSD + HSU group had significantly higher levels of physical violence than did the PTSD only group, but both groups had similar mean scores on all other variables. Potential treatment implications are discussed. Abstract published by arrangement with Sage.