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The influence of pre-deployment cognitive ability on post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms and trajectories: The Danish USPER follow-up study of Afghanistan veterans

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningfagfællebedømt

Objective New trajectories of PTSD symptoms have recently been identified in war exposed army veterans. The aim of this army veterans study was to examine whether pre-deployment cognitive ability is associated with the risk of developing PTSD symptoms or non-resilient PTSD trajectories. Method Follow up study in 428 Danish soldiers, deployed to Afghanistan in 2009, who were assessed at six occasions from pre-deployment to three years post-deployment. Pre-deployment vulnerabilities, deployment and homecoming stressors were measured. Pre-deployment cognitive test scores on Børge Priens Prøve (based on logical, verbal, numerical and spatial reasoning) were converted to a mean of 100 and with a standard deviation of 15. Results Higher pre-deployment cognitive ability scores were associated with lower risk of PTSD symptoms as assessed by the Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Checklist-Civilian Version (PCL-C) 2.5 years post-deployment (OR=0.97; 95% CI 0.95-1.00) after adjustment for educational length, baseline PCL-C score and perceived war-zone stress. Compared to a resilient trajectory, a non-resilient relieved-worsening trajectory (high baseline mental symptoms, being symptom free during deployment and a drastic increase in PTSD symptoms at the final assessments of PTSD symptoms) had significantly lower cognitive scores by a mean difference of 14.5 (95% CI 4.7-24.3). This trajectory (n=9) comprised 26.5% of soldiers with moderate-severe PTSD symptoms 2.5 years post-deployment. Conclusion We confirmed an inverse association between pre-deployment cognitive ability and risk of PTSD symptoms, and observed significantly lower mean pre-deployment cognitive scores in one non-resilient PTSD trajectory. If replicated, this might inform relevant prevention efforts for soldiers at pre-deployment.

OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftJournal of Affective Disorders
Vol/bind196
Sider (fra-til)148-153
Antal sider6
ISSN0165-0327
DOI
StatusUdgivet - 15 maj 2016

ID: 179211731