The influence of pre-deployment neurocognitive functioning on post-deployment PTSD symptom outcomes among Iraq-deployed Army soldiers

Brian P Marx, Susan Doron-Lamarca, Susan P Proctor, Jennifer J Vasterling
Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society: JINS 2009, 15 (6): 840-52
This study evaluated associations between pre-deployment neurocognitive performance and post-deployment posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms in a sample of deployed active duty Army soldiers. As part of a larger longitudinal study, each participant completed baseline measures of memory, executive attention, and response inhibition, and baseline and post-deployment self-report measures of PTSD symptom severity. Data were subjected to multiple regression analyses that examined associations between baseline neurocognitive performances and longitudinal PTSD symptom outcome. Results revealed that pre-trauma immediate recall of visual information was associated with post-deployment PTSD symptom severity, even after controlling for pre-deployment PTSD symptom levels, combat intensity, age, gender, and test-retest interval. There was also an interaction between pre-deployment PTSD symptom severity and pre-deployment immediate visual recall and verbal learning, indicating that neurocognitive performances were more strongly (and negatively) associated with residualized post-deployment PTSD symptoms at higher levels of pre-deployment PTSD symptoms. These findings highlight the potential role of pre-trauma neurocognitive functioning in moderating the effects of trauma exposure on PTSD symptoms

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