Early Life Stress, PTSD, and Neurocognitive Intra-Individual Variability

Proposal details

Title: A Preliminary Investigation of the Associations between Early Life Stress, PTSD, and Neurocognitive Intra-Individual Variability
Research Area(s): PTSD and other Anxiety Disorders
Background: Prior research has indicated that early life stress (ELS) and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are associated with neurocognitive deficits and differences in brain structure and function. Nonetheless, some research studies have failed to find differences between groups. Other factors, such as neurocognitive intra-individual variability (NC IIV), may help to shed light on the relationships between ELS, PTSD, and neurocognition. NC IIV, measured as dispersion, may prove to be a more sensitive measure of deficits than examination of between-group mean differences. NC IIV has been linked with functional deficits in other populations including healthy older adults and individuals with HIV but has yet to be examined within the context of ELS or PTSD.
Aims: 1.) Examine the influence of ELS and PTSD on NC IIV. It is anticipated that ELS exposure and PTSD symptoms will be positively associated with NC IIV. 2.) Investigate the influence of ELS and PTSD on neurocognitive deficits. It is expected that ELS and PTSD will each be related to greater neurocognitive deficits.
Method: The associations between ELS, PTSD, and NC IIV will be examined in a comprehensive neurocognitive battery (i.e., executive functioning, processing speed, working memory, learning, verbal fluency, and motor skills).