Memory impairments in posttraumatic stress disorder are related to depression.

Deaprtment of Biological and Medical Psychology, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway.
Journal of Anxiety Disorders (Impact Factor: 2.96). 02/2008; 22(3):464-74. DOI: 10.1016/j.janxdis.2007.04.007
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The present study focuses on verbal learning and memory alterations in refugees with posttraumatic stress disorder, and whether the alterations are related to attention, acquisition, storage, or retrieval. Twenty-one refugees exposed to war and political violence with chronic PTSD, were compared to an exposed control sample of 21 refugees without PTSD. No differences were found in attention span, but tests of verbal memory showed less efficient learning in the PTSD sample. Group differences in delayed recall could be explained by learning efficiency. No differences were seen in recognition memory. These results indicate that memory alterations in PTSD are related to impaired acquisition and less effective encoding of the memory material and not to impaired attention span and/or impaired retrieval. Controlling for specific PTSD symptom clusters and self-reported depression showed that the intrusion subscale and depressive reactions are the most important symptoms in understanding the memory alterations in PTSD.

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