Memory deficits, postconcussive complaints, and posttraumatic stress disorder in a volunteer sample of veterans

Eric Larson*, Felise Zollman, Bethany Kondiles, Christine Starr

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Purpose: To better understand how memory impairment is related to postconcussive complaints and to posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and whether these relationships remain after controlling for premorbid cognitive ability. Method: We examined memory impairment, premorbid cognitive ability, postconcussive complaints, and symptoms of PTSD in 205 veterans, 135 of who gave a self-reported history of concussion and exposure to a traumatic life event. We limited our sample to those who gave good effort on cognitive testing according to a symptom validity measure. Results: Although memory impairment was not associated with a history of concussion, it was associated with severity of postconcussive complaints. That association was no longer significant after controlling for premorbid IQ. A similar analysis yielded slightly different findings for PTSD. Memory impairment was associated with PTSD diagnosis, although it was not associated with severity of PTSD symptoms after controlling for premorbid ability. Conclusions: These data are consistent with multifactorial models of the etiology of postconcussion disorder and PTSD such as the "burden of adversity hypothesis " described by Brenner, Vanderploeg, and Terrio (2009). In such models, symptom severity and course of recovery are determined not only by trauma severity but (also) premorbid risk factors and postonset complications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)245-252
Number of pages8
JournalRehabilitation Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2013


  • Brain concussion
  • Cognition disorders
  • Memory
  • Post-concussion syndrome
  • Stress disorders

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Rehabilitation
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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