Locus of control in US combat veterans: Unique associations with posttraumatic stress disorder 5-factor model symptom clusters

Noelle B. Smith, Lauren M. Sippel, Candice Presseau, David Rozek, Natalie Mota, Charles Gordon, Mark Horvath, Ilan Harpaz-Rotem

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations

Abstract

Given elevated rates of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among US military veterans, identifying correlates of PTSD and specific PTSD symptom clusters that best represent PTSD in veterans (i.e., the five-factor Dysphoric Arousal model) is critical to prevention and intervention efforts. One potential correlate is locus of control (i.e., the extent to which individuals believe they have control over events in their lives). The aim of this study was to examine the relations between locus of control and five-factor model PTSD symptom clusters (i.e., re-experiencing, avoidance, numbing, dysphoric arousal, anxious arousal) among combat veterans. Eighty-nine combat exposed veterans completed self-report measures of demographics, locus of control, PTSD symptoms, and combat exposure. Bivariate correlations indicated relations between locus of control and overall PTSD symptoms, avoidance symptoms, and numbing symptoms. When controlling for sex and combat exposure in regression analyses, only avoidance remained a significant correlate of locus of control. Among veterans with the most extreme scores (n = 26), external locus of control predicted overall PTSD symptoms and avoidance symptoms. External locus of control is uniquely associated with avoidance symptoms, and represents a potentially modifiable factor to address in trauma-focused treatments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)152-156
Number of pages5
JournalPsychiatry Research
Volume268
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2018
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Avoidance
  • Combat exposure
  • Locus of control
  • PTSD symptoms
  • Veterans

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry

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