Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Lower Intelligence May Be Risk Factor For Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Date:
March 27, 1998
Source:
American Psychological Association
Summary:
People with lower intelligence before a traumatic experience are more likely to develop posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, according to the first study to identify a cognitive risk factor for PTSD.

WASHINGTON - People with lower intelligence before a traumatic experience are more likely to develop posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, according to the first study to identify a cognitive risk factor for PTSD. Conversely, higher intelligence may protect against the development of PTSD. The research, conducted with 90 U.S. Army and Marine Corps Vietnam combat veterans, is to be published in the April issue of the American Psychological Association's (APA) Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology.

Researchers studied the association among precombat intelligence, current intelligence, and PTSD symptoms among 31 healthy Vietnam veterans and 59 Vietnam veterans with PTSD symptoms. Those with PTSD had lower precombat intelligence, fewer years of education, and lower current intelligence. "For a given amount of combat exposure, persons of lower precombat intelligence were more likely to develop PTSD following combat," said the authors. Co-author Richard J. McNally, Ph.D., says "it remains to be seen whether cognitive ability is associated with PTSD symptoms after exposure to other types of traumatic events."

Posttraumatic stress disorder does not lower measured intelligence; the researchers found no significant correlation between PTSD severity and difference between precombat and current intelligence. The authors are careful not to blame the development of PTSD on victims' intelligence levels. "PTSD is caused by traumatic events, not lower intelligence," Dr. McNally emphasizes. "Just as levels of cholesterol influence risk for heart attack, levels of intelligence influence risk for PTSD in people exposed to traumatic events."

The researchers maintain that there may be several possible explanations for their findings. People of lower intelligence may believe they are less able to cope and consequently may feel increasingly overwhelmed and helpless, thereby increasing their risk for PTSD. They suggest that individuals with more cognitive resources may be better able to cope with the emotional impact war-zone exposure has on them. They conclude that trauma-exposed individuals with lower cognitive ability may be targeted for early intervention to prevent the development of chronic PTSD.

Article: "Lower Precombat Intelligence Is a Risk Factor for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder" by Michael L. Macklin, B.A., Linda J. Metzger, Ph.D., Natasha B. Lasko, Ph.D., Scott P. Orr, Ph.D., and Roger K. Pitman, M.D., Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Manchester, New Hampshire and Harvard Medical School, Brett T. Litz, Ph.D., Boston Veterans Affairs Medical Center and Boston University School of Medicine, and Richard J. McNally, Ph.D., Harvard University, in Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, Vol. 66, No. 2.

The American Psychological Association (APA), in Washington, DC is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States and is the world's largest association of psychologists. APA's membership includes more than 150,000 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. Through its divisions in 50 subfields of psychology and affiliations with 58 state, territorial and Canadian provincial associations, APA works to advance psychology as a science, as a profession and as a means of promoting human welfare.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Psychological Association. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Psychological Association. "Lower Intelligence May Be Risk Factor For Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 March 1998. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/03/980327073956.htm>.
American Psychological Association. (1998, March 27). Lower Intelligence May Be Risk Factor For Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/03/980327073956.htm
American Psychological Association. "Lower Intelligence May Be Risk Factor For Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/03/980327073956.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) A medical team has for the first time given a man the ability to walk again after transplanting cells from his brain onto his severed spinal cord. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Your Birth Season Might Determine Your Temperament

Your Birth Season Might Determine Your Temperament

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) A new study says the season you're born in can determine your temperament — and one season has a surprising outcome. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Movies Might Desensitize Violence For Parents, Not Just Kids

Movies Might Desensitize Violence For Parents, Not Just Kids

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) A study suggests that parents become desensitized to violent movies as well as children, which leads them to allow their kids to view violent films. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Court Ruling Means Kids' Online Activity Could Be On Parents

Court Ruling Means Kids' Online Activity Could Be On Parents

Newsy (Oct. 17, 2014) In a ruling attorneys for both sides agreed was a first of its kind, a Georgia appeals court said parents can be held liable for what kids put online. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins