Coping Mediates the Relationship Between Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Symptoms and Alcohol Use in Homeless, Ethnically Diverse Women: A Preliminary Study


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Abstract

Homeless women are at increased risk for problematic alcohol use and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). While coping motives have been shown to mediate the relationship between PTSD symptoms and alcohol problems in victims of sexual assault and domestic violence, it is unknown whether this relationship is evident in other trauma-exposed populations. The focus of this study was to examine whether drinking to cope mediated the relationship between PTSD symptoms and current alcohol use in a group of homeless, ethnically diverse women. Twenty-three women were recruited from local shelters in a southwestern community and asked to complete measures assessing their current alcohol use, drinking motives, and PTSD symptoms. Results revealed that drinking to cope mediated the relationship between PTSD symptoms and current alcohol use. This finding supports the theory that homeless women may benefit from treatment interventions that address both their substance use and trauma issues.

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