Anxiety sensitivity and hazardous drinking among persons living with HIV/AIDS: An examination of the role of emotion dysregulation
Hazardous drinking is prevalent among persons living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA). Anxiety sensitivity is a vulnerability factor that is highly associated with hazardous drinking among seronegatives, but has yet to be tested in PLWHA. Additionally, there is a need to examine potential mechanisms underlying associations of anxiety sensitivity and hazardous drinking. Emotion dysregulation is one potential construct that may explain the association between anxiety sensitivity and hazardous drinking. The current study examined emotion dysregulation as a potential explanatory variable between anxiety sensitivity and four, clinically significant alcohol-related outcomes among PLWHA: hazardous drinking, symptoms of alcohol dependence, number of days consuming alcohol within the past month, and degree of past heavy episodic drinking. The sample included 126 PLWHA (Mage=48.3; SD=7.5; 65.9% male). Results indicated significant indirect effects of anxiety sensitivity via emotion dysregulation in all models. Indirect effects (κ2) were of medium effect size. Alternative models were run reversing the predictor with mediator and, separately, reversing the mediator with the proposed outcome(s); alternative models yielded non-significant indirect effects in all but one case. Together, the current results indicate that anxiety sensitivity is associated emotion dysregulation, which, in turn, is associated with hazardous drinking outcomes. Overall, these findings may provide initial empirical evidence that emotion dysregulation may be a clinical intervention target for hazardous drinking.