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Neuropsychology. 2002 Jan;16(1):5-14.

Attention, learning, and memory performances and intellectual resources in Vietnam veterans: PTSD and no disorder comparisons.

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  • 1Mental Health Service Line, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, New Orleans, Louisiana 70112, USA.


Attention, learning, memory, and estimated intellectual potential were examined in 26 Vietnam veterans diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and in 21 Vietnam veterans without mental disorders. Results revealed PTSD-associated cognitive deficits on tasks of sustained attention, working memory, initial learning, and estimated premorbid intelligence but not on measures of focus of attention, shift of attention, or memory savings. Cognitive task performances adjusted for estimated native intelligence remained negatively correlated with PTSD severity. An intellectual measure adjusted for cognitive task performances was negatively correlated with PTSD severity, even after the authors statistically controlled the level of combat exposure. Results suggested that although intellectual resources may constitute a vulnerability-protective factor for PTSD development, PTSD was associated with cognitive impairment independent of intellectual functioning.

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