Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Arts and Sciences



First Advisor

Dr. Christal L. Badour Hirsch


Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has been linked to heightened engagement in risky sexual behavior (RSB) across diverse samples, and impulsivity has been postulated as a potential linkage (Weiss et al., 2012). Limited information has been published on the role that impulsivity can play in strengthening the relationship between PTSD and RSB in college students. The current study examined the moderating role of impulsivity dispositions: negative/positive urgency, (lack of) perseverance, sensation seeking, and (lack of) premeditation on the association between PTSD symptoms and past-year RSB among a sample of 221 undergraduate students (77.4% female) with at least one DSM-5 defined traumatic event. Negative binomial regression models were conducted to explore each impulsivity disposition’s moderating effect on the relationship between PTSD symptoms and RSB. PTSD symptoms and positive urgency, (lack of) perseverance, and sensation seeking were independently associated with RSB. Significant interactions were found between negative urgency and PTSD symptoms, and (lack of) premeditation and PTSD symptoms, such that PTSD symptoms were more strongly linked to RSB among individuals high in these impulsivity dispositions. The present study expands on the limited literature on the role specific impulsivity dispositions can have in the relationship between PTSD and RSB in trauma-exposed college students.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)