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Distress Tolerance and Impulsivity Are Associated With Drug and Alcohol Use Consequences in an Online Community Sample

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Impulsivity and distress tolerance (DT) have been implicated as key features in development and maintenance of substance use disorders. This study expanded on previous research by exploring the four factors of DT (Absorption, Appraisal, Regulation, Tolerance) and their interaction with impulsivity in relation to substance use. Participants were 105 men and 150 women who completed measures of impulsivity, DT, and substance use. Results indicated that Appraisal DT was a better predictor of substance use problems over and above overall DT or other DT factors. Mediation analysis indicated that Appraisal partially mediated the relationship between impulsivity and DT. Results suggest that DT, particularly Appraisal, plays a role in substance use problems, specifically in the relationship between impulsivity and substance use problems. Treatments emphasizing DT skills, particularly the appraisal of aversive emotions, may be useful to employ when attempting to reduce harmful drinking or drug use behaviors.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2016

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