Childhood Maltreatment and Risky Substance Use Behaviors: The Mediating Roles of Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms & Callous Unemotional Traits.Subst Use Misuse. 2021; 56(3):388-395.SU
Background: A robust relationship has been established between childhood maltreatment and risky substance use. Posttraumatic stress symptoms and callous-unemotional (CU) traits, both of which can be consequences of childhood maltreatment, have been implicated as potential mediators of this relationship, but despite phenotypic overlap have not been examined within the same model. Objective: The current cross-sectional study examined the indirect effect of childhood maltreatment severity on risky drug and alcohol use behaviors though PTSS and CU traits. Methods: Undergraduates (n = 355, 54.4% female) with childhood maltreatment histories completed questionnaires regarding childhood maltreatment, PTSS, substance use behaviors, and CU traits. Path modeling was utilized to examine indirect effects of childhood maltreatment on risky alcohol and drug use behaviors. Results: Overall the model demonstrated good fit. PTSS and CU traits were found to fully mediate the childhood maltreatment severity to risky alcohol use behaviors, with PTSS demonstrating a trending mediational effect to risky drug usage. Results support multiple pathways to risky alcohol use for individuals with childhood maltreatment histories through PTSS and CU traits, suggesting both PTSS as well as CU traits as potential targets of intervention for alcohol misuse among individuals with childhood maltreatment experiences.