Attentional and executive functions are differentially affected by post-traumatic stress disorder and trauma

Attentional and executive functions are differentially affected by post-traumatic stress disorder and trauma

Author Flaks, Mariana K. Autor UNIFESP Google Scholar
Malta, Stella M. Autor UNIFESP Google Scholar
Almeida, Priscila P. Autor UNIFESP Google Scholar
Bueno, Orlando F. A. Autor UNIFESP Google Scholar
Pupo, Mariana C. Autor UNIFESP Google Scholar
Andreoli, Sergio B. Autor UNIFESP Google Scholar
Mello, Marcelo F. Google Scholar
Lacerda, Acioly L. T. Autor UNIFESP Google Scholar
Mari, Jair J. Autor UNIFESP Google Scholar
Bressan, Rodrigo A. Autor UNIFESP Google Scholar
Institution Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP)
Abstract Background: Among the neurocognitive impairments observed in patients with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), attentional and executive dysfunctions appear to correlate with negative effects on education, work, daily life activities, and social relations, as well as the re-experiencing, avoidance, and hyperarousal symptoms of PTSD. However, there is no consensus regarding which aspects of attentional and executive functions are impaired in PTSD patients.Methods: Attentional and executive functions were assessed using the digit span (WAIS-III) and spatial span (WMS-III) tests under forward and backward recall conditions, the Stroop Test, and the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST). Our sample was composed of victims of urban violence who developed PTSD (PTSD+) (n = 81), victims of urban violence who did not develop PTSD (PTSD) (n = 70), and healthy controls not exposed to trauma (HC) (n = 50).Results: the PTSD+ group had poorer performance on the spatial span forward subtest (p = 0.023; eta(2) = 0.038) and poorer execution time (p = 0.023; eta(2) = 0.042) and accuracy (p = 0.019; eta(2) = 0.044) on the Stroop Test compared to HC.Conclusions: These data suggest that there are few differences between the PTSD+ and HC groups, which are restricted to less complex measures of attentional and executive functional processes (short term capacity, selective attention, processing speed, and inhibitory control) and are related to visual stimuli. Therefore, cognitive impairments directly correlated with the manifestation of PTSD. (C) 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Keywords Post-traumatic stress disorder
Executive functions
Language English
Sponsor Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo (FAPESP)
Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq)
Grant number FAPESP: 2009/01358-0
FAPESP: 2004/15039-0
CNPq: 420122/2005-2
Date 2014-01-01
Published in Journal of Psychiatric Research. Oxford: Pergamon-Elsevier B.V., v. 48, n. 1, p. 32-39, 2014.
ISSN 0022-3956 (Sherpa/Romeo, impact factor)
Publisher Elsevier B.V.
Extent 32-39
Access rights Open access Open Access
Type Article
Web of Science ID WOS:000328716500005

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