Working memory function is linked to trauma exposure, independently of post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms.

TitleWorking memory function is linked to trauma exposure, independently of post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuteursBlanchette, I, Caparos, S
JournalCogn Neuropsychiatry
Volume21
Issue6
Pagination494-509
Date Published2016 11
ISSN1464-0619
KeywordsAdolescent, Adult, Case-Control Studies, Cognition, Female, Humans, Memory Disorders, Memory, Short-Term, Middle Aged, Regression Analysis, Sex Offenses, Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic, Stress, Psychological, Young Adult
Abstract

INTRODUCTION: The purpose of the study was to examine how working memory (WM) may be related to exposure to potentially traumatic events and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).METHOD: In four studies, we measured WM function using adaptations of the running span and the reading span tasks. We compared the performance of women reporting experiences of sexual abuse to control participants (total n = 144 controls and 84 victims). We measured severity of the sexual abuse experiences as well as exposure to general life stress.RESULTS: In all studies, trauma-exposed participants showed significantly lower WM function compared to control participants. In addition to traditional null hypothesis testing, we used a mini-meta analysis to estimate the combined estimated effect size of this difference, which was in the moderate range (d = 0.43 with 0.15-0.70 95% confidence interval). Regression equations showed that PTSD symptoms did not mediate the relationship between trauma exposure and WM function.CONCLUSIONS: Our results show that trauma exposure per se can be associated with important cognitive correlates even in individuals who do not develop psychopathological reactions.

DOI10.1080/13546805.2016.1236015
Alternate JournalCogn Neuropsychiatry
PubMed ID27707012