Associations Among Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms, Substance Use, and Affective Attentional Processing in OEF/OIF/OND Veterans

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The majority of research examining affective attentional bias in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has not examined the influence of co-occurring psychiatric disorders. This study examined the individual and interactive effects of PTSD symptoms and substance use disorders (SUDs) on affective attentional processing among 323 veterans deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan. Participants were divided into those with SUD (SUD+, n = 46) and those without (SUD−, n = 277). Substance use disorder was determined using the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV. Posttraumatic stress disorder was measured using the Clinician Administered PTSD Scale. A computerized go/no-go task (Robbins et al., 1994, Robbins et al.,1998) assessed affective attentional processing. Relative to those without SUD, those with SUD showed a significant association between PTSD symptoms and increased omission and commission accuracy rates and decreased d prime. No effects of valence were found. Findings suggest the need to consider co-occurring SUD when investigating the effects of PTSD on attentional control.

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