Lower precombat intelligence is a risk factor for posttraumatic stress disorder

J Consult Clin Psychol. 1998 Apr;66(2):323-6. doi: 10.1037//0022-006x.66.2.323.


The authors examined the relation between intelligence and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) by studying the association among precombat intelligence, current intelligence, and self-reported PTSD symptoms. Military aptitude test results were obtained in 59 PTSD and 31 non-PTSD Vietnam combat veterans who had undergone a psychodiagnostic interview and current intelligence testing. People with lower precombat intelligence were more likely to develop PTSD symptoms as assessed by the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale even after adjustment for extent of combat exposure. The association between current intelligence and PTSD was no longer significant after adjusting for precombat intelligence. These results suggest that lower pretrauma intelligence increases risk for developing PTSD symptoms, not that PTSD lowers performance on intelligence tests.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aptitude Tests
  • Combat Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Combat Disorders / psychology
  • Humans
  • Intelligence*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Personality Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Veterans / psychology*
  • Vietnam