Multivariate assessment of explicit memory function in combat veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder

J Trauma Stress. 2001 Apr;14(2):413-32. doi: 10.1023/A:1011181305501.


Declarative memory impairment is a frequent complaint of patients suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). We assessed memory, attention, visual spatial skills, and executive function in Vietnam combat veterans with (n = 19) and without (n = 13) PTSD. Although PTSD subjects demonstrated a "generalized impairment" relative to non-PTSD subjects on a majority of tasks, only attention and memory provided unique and independent prediction of PTSD versus non-PTSD status. Our findings suggest that memory functioning represents a neurocognitive domain of specific relevance to the development of PTSD in trauma-exposed individuals, which can be distinguished from generalized attentional impairment as well as the effects of trauma exposure severity, IQ, comorbid depression, history of alcohol use, and history of developmental learning problems.

MeSH terms

  • Alcoholism / complications
  • Alcoholism / psychology
  • Attention*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Combat Disorders / complications*
  • Combat Disorders / psychology*
  • Comorbidity
  • Depression / complications
  • Depression / psychology
  • Humans
  • Interview, Psychological
  • Learning Disabilities / complications
  • Learning Disabilities / psychology
  • Male
  • Memory Disorders / diagnosis
  • Memory Disorders / etiology*
  • Memory Disorders / psychology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • New Hampshire
  • Risk Factors
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Veterans / psychology*
  • Vietnam
  • Warfare