Deficits in Inhibitory Control May Place Service Members at Risk for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Negative Parenting Behavior Following Deployment-Related Trauma

Amy R. Monn, Na Zhang, Abigail H. Gewirtz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study examined the mediating role of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms in the association between deployment-related trauma exposure and parenting behaviors in reserve-component military service members and whether this association was contingent upon parent inhibitory control (IC). Participants were 181 postdeployed fathers and their children. Fathers completed a neurospychological test of IC and self-report measures of trauma exposure and PTSD symptoms. Measures of parenting behaviors (positive engagement and reactivity coercion) were obtained from direct observation of father–child interaction. Results demonstrated that (a) fathers’ PTSD symptoms indirectly mediated the effect of trauma exposure on both measures of parenting (i.e., negative indirect effect for positive engagement, point estimate = −.0045, 95% CI [−.0107, −.0003], and positive indirect effect for reactivity coercion, point estimate =.0061, 95% CI [.0007,.0146]); (b) fathers’ IC skills moderated the association between trauma exposure and PTSD, β =.14, p =.043, such that the association was positive and significant for fathers with high and medium IC but nonsignificant for fathers with low IC; and (c) the indirect effect of trauma exposure on both parenting measures through PTSD was dependent upon IC, point estimate =.0341, 95% CI [.0005,.0687]. These findings indicate that fathers with low IC skills tended to have higher rates of PTSD symptoms and related negative parenting behaviors, even for individuals with relatively low degrees of deployment-related trauma exposure. Results highlight the importance of IC as a potential moderating factor in the association between trauma exposure, PTSD, and parenting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)866-875
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Traumatic Stress
Volume31
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
was provided by the National Institute of Health (R01 DA 030114; 2010–2016) and from the National Institute of Drug Abuse (R01 DA030114; to Abigail Gewirtz and R21 DA034166 to James Snyder). There has been no other prior dissemination of the ideas and data appearing in the manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

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