Posttraumatic stress symptom clusters, trauma history, and substance use among college students

Elizabeth M. Avant, Joanne L. Davis, Christopher C. Cranston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Previous research found associations between experiencing specific posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptom clusters and use of specific substances among combat veterans, women exposed to domestic violence, and an inpatient sample; however, research has not utilized a college sample when considering this association. This study assessed trauma history, PTSD symptoms, alcohol use, and nonexperimental use of depressants, stimulants, opioids, cannabinoids, hallucinogens, inhalants, and steroids in college students. Results indicate unique associations between the PTSD symptom cluster of reexperiencing and use of depressants, avoidance/numbing with use of depressants and opiates, and hyperarousal with use of opiates. Further, the individual subclusters of behavioral avoidance and emotional numbing were associated with use of depressants and avoidance was associated with hallucinogen use. Implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)539-555
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Aggression, Maltreatment and Trauma
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 1 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • PTSD symptom clusters
  • college students
  • substance use
  • trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Professions (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'Posttraumatic stress symptom clusters, trauma history, and substance use among college students'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this