Memory impairments in posttraumatic stress disorder are related to depression.
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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ABSTRACT: Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and major depressive disorder (MDD) frequently co-occur after traumatic experiences and share neurocognitive disturbances in verbal memory and executive functioning. However, few attempts have been made to systematically assess the role of a comorbid MDD diagnosis in neuropsychological studies in PTSD. The purpose of the current study is to investigate neurocognitive deficits in PTSD patients with and without MDD. We hypothesized that PTSD patients with comorbid MDD (PTSD+MDD) would have significantly lower performance on measures of verbal memory and executive functioning than PTSD patients without MDD (PTSD-MDD). Participants included in this study were 140 treatment-seeking outpatients who had a diagnosis of PTSD after various single traumatic events and participated in a randomized controlled trial comparing different treatment types. Baseline neuropsychological data were compared between patients with PTSD+MDD (n=84) and patients with PTSD-MDD (n=56). The PTSD+MDD patients had more severe verbal memory deficits in learning and retrieving words than patients with PTSD alone. There were no differences between the groups in recall of a coherent paragraph, recognition, shifting of attention, and cognitive interference. The results of this study suggest that a more impaired neurocognitive profile may be associated with the presence of comorbid MDD, with medium-sized group differences for verbal memory but not for executive functioning. From a clinical standpoint, being aware that certain verbal memory functions are more restricted in patients with comorbid PTSD and MDD may be relevant for treatment outcome of trauma-focused psychotherapy.European Journal of Psychotraumatology 05/2013; 4. DOI:10.3402/ejpt.v4i0.19979 · 2.40 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The influence of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) on cognitive control and auditory attention modulation was examined with the use of a dichotic-listening (DL) task. The participants were 45 war-exposed refugees. The PTSD group comprised 22 participants meeting the DSM-IV criteria for PTSD, and the Control group comprised 23 war-exposed participants without PTSD. Both groups were tested with a consonant-vowel syllables DL task under three different attentional instructions. The two groups did not differ in the non-forced and forced-right conditions and showed, as expected, right-ear advantages. The Control group showed, as expected, a left-ear advantage in the forced-left (FL) condition. However, the PTSD group continued to show a right-ear advantage--and only minor modulation of the performance during the FL condition. This finding suggests that PTSD is associated with a reduced capacity for top-down attentional control of a bottom-up or stimulus-driven effect. The result shows that participants with PTSD have impaired cognitive control functions when tested on information processing of neutral stimuli.Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society 02/2011; 17(2):344-53. DOI:10.1017/S1355617710001736 · 3.01 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The present study examined mechanisms underlying verbal memory impairments in patients with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Earlier studies have reported that the verbal learning and memory alterations in PTSD are related to impaired encoding, but the use of encoding and organizational strategies in patients with PTSD has not been fully explored. This study examined organizational strategies in 21 refugees/immigrants exposed to war and political violence who fulfilled DSM-IV criteria for chronic PTSD compared with a control sample of 21 refugees/immigrants with similar exposure, but without PTSD. The California Verbal Learning Test was administered to examine differences in organizational strategies and memory. The semantic clustering score was slightly reduced in both groups, but the serial cluster score was significantly impaired in the PTSD group and they also reported more items from the recency region of the list. In addition, intrusive errors were significantly increased in the PTSD group. The data support an assumption of changed memory strategies in patients with PTSD associated with a specific impairment in executive control. However, memory impairment and the use of ineffective learning strategies may not be related to PTSD symptomatology only, but also to self-reported symptoms of depression and general distress.Psychiatry Research 01/2009; 165(1-2):68-77. DOI:10.1016/j.psychres.2008.01.001 · 2.68 Impact Factor