Karen A Ryabchenko

Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts, United States

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Publications (11)34.59 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: This study examined the prevalence of intermittent explosive disorder (IED) and its associations with trauma exposure, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other psychiatric diagnoses in a sample of trauma-exposed veterans (n = 232) with a high prevalence of PTSD. Structural associations between IED and latent dimensions of internalizing and externalizing psychopathology were also modeled to examine the location of IED within this influential structure. Twenty-four percent of the sample met criteria for a lifetime IED diagnosis and those with the diagnosis were more likely to meet criteria for lifetime PTSD than those without (30.3% vs. 14.3% respectively). Furthermore, regression analyses revealed lifetime PTSD severity to be a significant predictor of IED severity after controlling for combat, trauma exposure, and age. Finally, confirmatory factor analysis revealed significant cross-loadings of IED on both the externalizing and distress dimensions of psychopathology, suggesting that the association between IED and other psychiatric disorders may reflect underlying tendencies towards impulsivity and aggression and generalized distress and negative emotionality, respectively.
    Journal of anxiety disorders 06/2014; 28(5). DOI:10.1016/j.janxdis.2014.05.001 · 2.68 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This study examined the influence of trauma history and PTSD symptoms on the behavior of veterans and their intimate partners (287 couples; N=574) observed during conflict discussions and coded using the Rapid Marital Interaction Coding System (Heyman, 2004). Dyadic structural equation modeling analyses showed that PTSD was associated with more frequent displays of hostility and psychological abuse and fewer expressions of acceptance and humor in both veterans and their partners. Findings provide new insight into the social and emotional deficits associated with PTSD and emphasize the importance of addressing the trauma histories and PTSD of both partners when treating veteran couples with relationship disturbance.
    Journal of anxiety disorders 03/2013; 27(2):240-251. DOI:10.1016/j.janxdis.2013.02.005 · 2.68 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The diagnostic criteria for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have received significant scrutiny. Several studies have investigated the utility of Criterion A2, the subjective emotional response to a traumatic event. The American Psychiatric Association (APA) has proposed elimination of A2 from the PTSD diagnostic criteria for DSM-5; however, there is mixed support for this recommendation and few studies have examined A2 in samples at high risk for PTSD such as veterans. In the current study of 908 veterans who screened positive for a traumatic event, A2 was not significantly associated with having been told by a doctor that the veteran had PTSD. Those who endorsed A2, however, reported greater PTSD symptom severity in the 3 DSM-IV symptom clusters of reexperiencing (d = 0.45), avoidance (d = 0.61), and hyperarousal (d = 0.44), and A2 was significantly associated with PTSD symptom severity for all 3 clusters (R(2) = .25, .25, and .27, respectively) even with trauma exposure in the model. Thus, although A2 may not be a necessary criterion for PTSD diagnosis, its association with PTSD symptom severity warrants further exploration of its utility.
    Journal of Traumatic Stress 08/2012; 25(4):368-75. DOI:10.1002/jts.21720 · 2.72 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The nature of the relationship of dissociation to posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is controversial and of considerable clinical and nosologic importance. To examine evidence for a dissociative subtype of PTSD and to examine its association with different types of trauma. A latent profile analysis of cross-sectional data from structured clinical interviews indexing DSM-IV symptoms of current PTSD and dissociation. The VA Boston Healthcare System and the New Mexico VA Health Care System. A total of 492 veterans and their intimate partners, all of whom had a history of trauma. Participants reported exposure to a variety of traumatic events, including combat, childhood physical and sexual abuse, partner abuse, motor vehicle accidents, and natural disasters, with most participants reporting exposure to multiple types of traumatic events. Forty-two percent of the sample met the criteria for a current diagnosis of PTSD. Item-level scores on the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale. A latent profile analysis suggested a 3-class solution: a low PTSD severity subgroup, a high PTSD severity subgroup characterized by elevations across the 17 core symptoms of the disorder, and a small but distinctly dissociative subgroup that composed 12% of individuals with a current diagnosis of PTSD. The latter group was characterized by severe PTSD symptoms combined with marked elevations on items assessing flashbacks, derealization, and depersonalization. Individuals in this subgroup also endorsed greater exposure to childhood and adult sexual trauma compared with the other 2 groups, suggesting a possible etiologic link with the experience of repeated sexual trauma. These results support the subtype hypothesis of the association between PTSD and dissociation and suggest that dissociation is a highly salient facet of posttraumatic psychopathology in a subset of individuals with the disorder.
    Archives of general psychiatry 07/2012; 69(7):698-705. DOI:10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2011.1574 · 13.75 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This study examined attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) comorbidity in military veterans with a high prevalence of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and evaluated the relationships between the 2 disorders and exposure to traumatic events. The sample included 222 male and female military veterans who were administered structured clinical interviews based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition. Results show that 54.5% met the criteria for current PTSD, 11.5% of whom also met the criteria for current adult ADHD. Level of trauma exposure and ADHD severity were significant predictors of current PTSD severity. Evaluation of the underlying structure of symptoms of PTSD and ADHD using confirmatory factor analysis yielded a best-fitting measurement model that comprised 4 PTSD factors and 3 ADHD factors. Standardized estimates of the correlations among PTSD and ADHD factors suggested that the largest proportion of shared variance underlying PTSD-ADHD comorbidity is related to problems with modulating arousal levels that are common to both disorders (ie, hyperarousal and hypoarousal).
    Comprehensive psychiatry 02/2012; 53(6):679-90. DOI:10.1016/j.comppsych.2011.12.001 · 2.26 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Two studies were designed to develop and validate a model of current suicidal ideation. In Study 1, students that reported past suicide attempts (n = 48) were compared to controls (n = 49) on nine variables previously linked to suicidal behavior. In the resulting model, borderline personality characteristics and social support were found to correlate with current suicidal ideation, supporting a mediating model. In Study 2, the Borderline/Social Support (BTSS) model was validated in an independent sample. Implications for risk assessment, prevention and treatment of suicidal college students are discussed.
    Archives of Suicide Research 02/2007; 11(1):41-56. DOI:10.1080/13811110600897176 · 1.64 Impact Factor
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    James MacKillop, Karen A Ryabchenko, Stephen A Lisman
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    ABSTRACT: Within the context of a science-based dissemination initiative, this study sought to evaluate whether a community implementation of Life Skills Training (LST) would yield outcomes similar to previous clinical trials, to examine potential mechanisms of LST's effectiveness, and to explore potential gender-by-intervention effects. Life Skills Training was implemented with a high degree of fidelity to 263 (54% Male; 84% Caucasian) early adolescents in two Upstate New York school districts during the 2002-2003 academic year. Performance on the Life Skills Training Questionnaire yielded outcomes that were highly similar to those reported by the program's development team. Significant reductions in alcohol tension-reduction expectancies were detected on the Alcohol Expectancies Questionnaire--Adolescent Version, providing preliminary evidence that expectancies may mediate/moderate LST's influence. Exploratory gender analyses revealed that female participants exhibited greater improvements in terms of drug knowledge and anxiety reduction skills than male participants in one school district. Unexpected results, design limitations and implications for dissemination initiatives as a platform for research are discussed.
    Substance Use &amp Misuse 02/2006; 41(14):1921-35. DOI:10.1080/10826080601025862 · 1.23 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The goal of this study was to examine the relationship between self-mutilation and symptoms of depression and anxiety in a nonclinical population. Self-mutilators reported significantly more symptoms of depression and anxiety than did the control group. When the group of self-mutilators was divided into individuals who cut themselves and individuals who harm themselves in other ways, we found that the between-group differences were primarily due to individuals with a history of cutting. Yet when symptoms of borderline personality disorder (BPD) were statistically controlled, all significant between-group differences in depressive and anxious symptoms were reduced to nonsignificant. These findings highlight the importance of assessing symptoms of BPD in self-mutilators, regardless of diagnosis.
    Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior 11/2005; 35(5):581-91. DOI:10.1521/suli.2005.35.5.581 · 1.40 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To test a caregiving model of depression in spouses, 31 married couples completed interview and questionnaire assessments of depressive symptoms and caregiving activities. Spouses living with a partner with depressive symptoms had more symptoms of depression themselves. However, this association was found to be fully mediated by spouses’ perceived level of caregiving stress and burden. Results suggest that feelings of stress associated with caring for a depressed spouse may lead to depressive symptoms in the caregiving spouse and should be addressed in treatment.
    Family Relations 12/2004; 54(1):37 - 45. DOI:10.1111/j.0197-6664.2005.00004.x · 0.68 Impact Factor
  • Cho Y Lam, Carolyn M Pepper, Karen A Ryabchenko
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    ABSTRACT: Past studies have sometimes found that Asian American participants score higher on checklists that measure psychological distress compared to Caucasian American participants. However, studies using diagnostic interviews have not found corresponding elevated rates of mood disorders in Asian American participants. In the present study, Asian American (n = 238) and Caucasian American students (n = 556) completed checklist measures of distress (the Beck Depression Inventory, BDI and the Mood and Behavior Questionnaire, MBQ) and a subsample of students (n = 118) received a diagnostic interview. Asian American students had higher BDI scores, but the groups did not differ on either the MBQ, a measure closely tied to DSM criteria for major depression, or on rates of current mood disorders. Elevated BDI scores overestimate rates of mood disorders, particularly in Asian American students.
    Psychiatric Quarterly 02/2004; 75(4):361-73. DOI:10.1023/B:PSAQ.0000043511.13623.1b · 1.26 Impact Factor
  • Depression and Anxiety 01/2004; 20(3):153-4. DOI:10.1002/da.20034 · 4.29 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

166 Citations
34.59 Total Impact Points


  • 2012–2014
    • Boston University
      • Department of Psychiatry
      Boston, Massachusetts, United States
    • VA Long Beach Healthcare System
      Long Beach, California, United States
  • 2004–2005
    • Binghamton University
      • Department of Psychology
      Binghamton, NY, United States