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Am J Drug Alcohol Abuse. 2012 Mar;38(2):161-5. doi: 10.3109/00952990.2011.643990. Epub 2011 Dec 21.

Profiles of distress intolerance in a substance-dependent sample.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, Boston University, MA, USA. kmchugh@mclean.harvard.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Distress intolerance (DI) - the perceived inability to tolerate distressing states - is an important variable in substance abuse, with links to coping motives and return to use following a quit attempt. Recent research suggests that DI is a heterogeneous construct that varies based on the domain of distress (e.g., pain, anxiety).

OBJECTIVE:

To evaluate whether elevations in DI in substance-dependent (SD) patients varied based on the domain of distress.

METHODS:

Individuals (N = 55) with a diagnosis of illicit drug dependence and an affective disorder equated comparison (CO) group were administered three measures of DI - assessing pain, frustration, and respiratory discomfort.

RESULTS:

The SD group demonstrated significantly greater frustration intolerance, but not greater pain intolerance or respiratory discomfort intolerance relative to the CO group.

CONCLUSION:

When controlling for the presence of an affective disorder, SD patients exhibited elevated frustration intolerance, suggesting that this may be a particularly difficult type of distress for this group.

SCIENTIFIC SIGNIFICANCE:

DI is linked to important clinical outcomes and can be modified with treatment. Identification of intolerance of specific domains of distress associated with select disorders may help to better target such interventions.

PMID:
22185368
DOI:
10.3109/00952990.2011.643990
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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