Prospective Associations Among Approach Coping, Alcohol Misuse and Psychiatric Symptoms Among Veterans Receiving a Brief Alcohol Intervention

J Subst Abuse Treat. May-Jun 2014;46(5):553-60. doi: 10.1016/j.jsat.2014.01.006. Epub 2014 Jan 17.


Brief alcohol interventions (BAIs) target alcohol consumption and may exert secondary benefits including reduced depression and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms among non-veteran and veteran populations. This study examined whether approach coping, alcohol misuse, and an interaction of these two factors prior to the administration of a BAI (i.e., baseline) would predict depression and PTSD symptoms 6-months post BAI (i.e., follow-up). Veterans (N=166) received a BAI after screening positive for alcohol misuse during a primary care visit and completed assessments of alcohol misuse, approach coping, and depression and PTSD symptoms at baseline and follow-up. Baseline substance misuse, but not approach coping, significantly predicted depression and PTSD symptoms at follow-up. Approach coping moderated associations between baseline alcohol misuse and psychiatric symptoms: Veterans reporting more alcohol misuse and more (relative to less) approach coping at baseline evidenced fewer psychiatric symptoms at follow-up after accounting for symptoms assessed at baseline.

Keywords: Alcohol misuse; Approach coping; Brief alcohol intervention (BAI); Depression; Veteran.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology
  • Alcohol Drinking / prevention & control*
  • Depression / epidemiology*
  • Depression / psychology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Primary Health Care / methods
  • Psychotherapy, Brief / methods
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / epidemiology*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology
  • Veterans / psychology*