Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms and Coping Motives Mediate the Association Between Childhood Maltreatment and Alcohol Problems Academic Article uri icon

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  • Childhood maltreatment is associated with increased risk of alcohol misuse. Posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) and coping motives have both been identified, separately, as mediators of the relation between childhood maltreatment and alcohol misuse but have yet to be examined as serial mediators in a high-risk population. A total of 564 adolescents (53.7% female; M age = 15.9 years, SD = 1.1) in the care of child welfare services completed validated measures of childhood trauma, PTSS, drinking motives, and alcohol misuse across the first two waves (baseline and 6-month follow-up) of the Maltreatment and Adolescent Pathways (MAP) longitudinal study. Childhood maltreatment was associated with elevated PTSS, PTSS predicted higher coping motives, and coping motives were associated with higher levels of alcohol misuse, indirect effect (IE) = 0.03; 95% CI [0.00, 0.07]. Single mediator models with PTSS, IE = 0.03; 95% CI [-0.01, 0.05], and coping motives, IE = -0.02, 95% CI [-0.05, 0.03], as mediators were not statistically significant. The results suggest that PTSS and coping motives contribute sequentially to the association between childhood maltreatment and alcohol misuse and could thus both serve as intervention targets to prevent problem drinking in maltreated youth.


  • Park, Tristan
  • Thompson, Kara
  • Wekerle, Christine
  • Al‐Hamdani, Mohammed
  • Smith, Savanah
  • Hudson, Amanda
  • Goldstein, Abby
  • Stewart, Sherry H

publication date

  • December 2019