Learning and memory in aging combat veterans with PTSD

Rachel Yehuda, Julia A. Golier, Lisa Tischler, Karina Stavitsky, Philip D. Harvey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Scopus citations


The California Verbal Learning Test (CVLT) was administered to examine learning and memory performance in aging combat veterans with (n=30) and without PTSD (n=20), and veterans unexposed to combat (n=15). Combat veterans with PTSD (PTSD+) showed many impairments compared to non-exposed veterans, but only long-delay free recall consistently discriminated the PTSD+ group from combat-exposed subjects without PTSD (PTSD-), when data were corrected for subscale scores on the WAIS (Vocabulary, Block Design). Alterations in total learning were associated with PTSD when controlling for substance abuse and depression. Two contrast measures, proactive interference and recognition hits, distinguished combat from noncombat veterans, and may be related to trauma exposure. Impairments in total learning are similar to what has been observed in Holocaust survivors. However, increased severity of rapid forgetting may be a specific alteration in older combat veterans, likely reflecting aspects of both combat exposure and aging.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)504-515
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 2005


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