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Attentional functioning in patients with posttraumatic stress disorder: a preliminary study

  • Michael David Horner (a1), Jacobo E. Mintzer (a1), Travis H. Turner (a1), Keith R. Edmiston (a2) and Olga Brawman-Mintzer (a1)...

To compare patients with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to patients without psychiatric or cognitive disorders on neuropsychological measures of attention.


The sample included 19 patients with PTSD and 22 participants with no cognitive or psychiatric diagnosis. All had been referred for clinical neuropsychological evaluation at a VA Medical Center. None were diagnosed with dementia, delirium, or current substance dependence except nicotine or caffeine, and none had a history of stroke or of traumatic brain injury with loss of consciousness. Patients were excluded if they failed to exert adequate effort on testing.


PTSD patients performed significantly more poorly than patients without psychiatric diagnoses on Digit Span.


PTSD patients were impaired relative to participants without psychiatric diagnoses on a measure of focused attention. Several factors, including the small sample size, suggest that the results should be considered preliminary.

Corresponding author
*Address for correspondence: Michael David Horner, PhD, Mental Health Service (116), Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center, 109 Bee St., Charleston, SC 29401, USA. (Email
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This study was supported in part by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

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CNS Spectrums
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