Memory, attention, function, and mood among patients with chronic posttraumatic stress disorder

Neena Sachinvala, Harold Von Scotti, Michael McGuire, Lynn Fairbanks, Kelly Bakst, Marsden McGuire, Nancy Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


We report a study of memory, attention, function, and mood among 36 male Vietnam War Veterans suffering from chronic posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD subjects (N = 36) were in good physical health, suffering from moderate depression, and not knowingly suffering from other mental disorders. Control subjects (N = 18) were in good physical health, not knowingly suffering from a mental disorder, and matched with PTSD subject for age, sex, and level of education. Assessment instruments for PTSD subjects included the Post Traumatic Stress Diagnostic Scale™ (clinician administered), the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (clinician administered), and the Cognitive Evaluation Protocol® (CEP), a touchscreen computer assessment instrument that is self-administered by subjects. CEP was administered twice to PTSD subjects 1 month apart; other instruments were administered at the beginning of the study. Control subjects took CEP once and were administered the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale and the Post Traumatic Stress Diagnostic Scale once. Compared with control subjects, PTSD subjects performed significantly well on CEP for the three cognitive domains of attention, memory, and function and had highly elevated depression scores. An interaction between depression and memory was found out but not with depression and attention. There was no evidence of reduced information processing speed among PTSD subjects. Comparisons between the three assessment instruments showed a high degree of cross-assessment agreement. The findings are consistent with reports that chronic PTSD is associated with compromised memory, attention, and function. The study documents the feasibility of using self-administered touchscreen computer programs to evaluate and track features of mental disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)818-823
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Nervous and Mental Disease
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2000


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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