Poster Abstracts

Abstract

The cognitive model of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) suggests that cognitive flexibility (exemplified by high executive functioning [EF]) may contribute to symptom amelioration. The present study examined EF as a potential moderator of the relationship between combat exposure and PTSD symptom clusters among post-9/11 Veterans using path analysis. Participants were 175 Veterans (Mage = 36.15; 74% White, 86% male) drawn from a larger study examining post-deployment mental health and who had valid performance on the Word Memory Test and Personality Assessment Inventory. An EF composite comprised of z-scores for Wisconsin Card Sorting Test Perseveration Errors, WAIS-III Similarities, Trail Making Test ratio (B/A), and Stroop ratio score (Color/Inhibition) was used to create the interaction term (EF x Combat Exposure Scale [CES]). After accounting for age, sex, and estimated premorbid functioning using the Wechsler Test of Adult Reading, results indicated that CES was associated with all symptom clusters on the PTSD Checklist-Military (β’s = .341-.428, p < .001), but there was no moderating effect of EF. Combat exposure appears to be an important dimension of risk related to PTSD symptoms in Veterans. Future research may reconsider EF measurement selection and incorporate other relevant cognitive domains.

First AuthorLena Etzel
Second AuthorHolly M. Miskey
Third AuthorJennifer B. Webb
Fourth AuthorGeorge J. Demakis
Fifth AuthorHank L. Harris
Sixth AuthorRobert D. Shura