To replicate the finding of an association between PTSD symptomatology and problematic drug/ alcohol use in a clinical sample of young people in Scotland. To examine possible gender differences in this association, as well as the potential moderating effects of perceived social support and coping. To test the self-medication hypothesis (SMH).
Design: The present study is cross-sectional in design
A series of five self-report questionnaires were administered, individually, to obtain measures of PTSD symptomatology, levels of problematic drug and alcohol use, perceived social support and coping. In addition, a short series of structured interview questions were asked, where appropriate, to elicit further information pertaining to drug and/ or alcohol use.
The results indicated a lack of a significant association between PTSD and substance use in the sample being studied. Some support for the SMH was obtained with the finding of an association between perceived relatedness of alcohol use and trauma effects, and levels of problemati.c alcohol use. Reported onset of alcohol use prior to the trauma experience was associated with higher levels of problematic use and individuals reporting prior onset of substance use, tended to report an increase in use following the trauma.
Results are discussed in the context of prior findings in the literature of a consistent relationship between PTSD and substance use, and methodological limitations of the present study are highlighted. It is suggested, with reservation, that the results provide some support for the SMH. Clinical implications and future recommendations are discussed.