Child Psychiatry and Human Development

, Volume 36, Issue 3, pp 261–272

IQ and Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms in Children Exposed to Interpersonal Violence

  • Kasey M. Saltzman
  • Carl F. Weems
  • Victor G. Carrion
Article

Abstract

Background: The literature is mixed as to the relationship between intelligence quotient (IQ) and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptomatology in adult populations. Even less is known about the relationship in children who have been traumatized.

Methods: Fifty-nine children and adolescents (mean age = 10.6) with a history of interpersonal violence were evaluated with respect to PTSD symptomatology, number of traumas, and estimated Verbal, Performance and Full scale IQ scores. PTSD symptomatology included symptom levels for cluster B (re-experiencing), cluster C (avoidance and numbing), and cluster D (Hypervigilance) and criterion F, functional impairment.

Results: Results indicated that Full scale and Verbal IQ were significantly associated with the number of traumas, re-experiencing symptoms, and impairment. Performance IQ was only associated with impairment. Regression analyses suggested that together PTSD symptomatology predicted Full scale and Verbal IQ but nor Performance IQ and impairment was the single best predictor of IQ generally.

Conclusions: Findings provide support for an association between PTSD symptoms and IQ, particularly verbal IQ. Two possible reasons for this relationship are that higher levels of Verbal IQ may serve as a premorbid protective factor against the development of re-experiencing symptoms, or performance on post-trauma Verbal IQ measures may be negatively impacted by expression of PTSD symptoms. Longitudinal studies are needed to clarify which of these two possibilities explains the association

Keywords

posttraumatic stress disorder intelligence quotient children trauma 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. 1.
    American Psychiatric Association. (1994). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 4thed. American Psychiatric Association, Washington DCGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Gil T, Calev A, Greenberg D, Kugelmass S, Lerer B (1990). Cognitive functioning in posttraumatic stress disorder. J Trauma Stress 3: 29–45CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Sachinvala N, von Scotti H, McGuire M, Fairbanks L, Bakst K, McGuire M, Brown N (2000). Memory, attention, function, and mood among patients with chronic posttraumatic stress disorder. J Nerv Ment Dis 188: 818–823CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Vasterling JJ, Duke LM, Brailey K, Constans JI, Allain AN, Sutker PB. (2002). Attention, learning, and memory performance and intellectual resources in Vietnam veterans: PTSD and no disorder comparisons. Neuropsychology 16: 5–14CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Vasterling JJ, Brailey K, Constans JI, Sutker PB. (1998). Attention and memory dysfunction in posttraumatic stress disorder. Neuropsychology 12:125–133CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Gilbertson MW, Gurvits TV, Lasko NB, Orr SP, Pitman RK. (2001). Multivariate assessment of explicit memory function in combat veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder. J Trauma Stress 14: 413–432CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Gurvits T, Gilbertson MW, Lasko NB, Tarhan AS, Simeon D, Macklin ML, Orr SP, Pitman RK. (2000). Neurologic soft signs in chronic posttraumatic stress disorder. Arch Gen Psychiatry 57: 181–186CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    McNally RJ, Shin LM. (1995). Association of intelligence with severity of posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms in Vietnam combat veterans. Am J Psychiatry 152: 936–938PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Macklin ML, Metzger LJ, Litz BT, McNally RJ, Lasko NB, Orr SP, Pitman RK. (1998). Lower precombat intelligence is a risk factor for posttraumatic stress disorder. J Consult Clin Psychol 66: 323–326CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Vasterling JJ, Brailey K, Constans JI, Borges A (1997). Assessment of intellectual resources in Gulf War veterans: Relationship to PTSD. Assessment 4: 51–59CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Yehuda R, Keefe RSE, Harvey PD, Levengood RA, Gerber DK, Geni J, Siever LJ (1995). Learning and memory in combat veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder. Am J Psychiatry 152: 137–139PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Sutker PB, Winstead DK, Galina ZH, Allain AN (1991). Cognitive deficits and psychopathology among prisoners of war and combat veterans of the Korean conflict. Am J Psychiatry 148: 67–72PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Bremner JD, Scott TM, Delaney RC, Southwick SM, Mason JW, Johnson DR, Innis RB, McCarthy G, Charney DS (1993). Deficits in short-term memory in posttraumatic stress disorder. Am J Psychiatry 150: 1015–1019PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Bremner JD, Randall P, Scott TM, Capelli S, Delaney R, McCarthy G, Charney DS (1995). Deficits in short-term memory in adult survivors of childhood abuse. Psychiatry Res 59: 97–107CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Stein MB, Hanna C, Vaerum V, Koverola C (1999). Memory functioning in adult women traumatized by childhood sexual abuse. J Trauma Stress 12: 527–534CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Samet MJ. (1998). A comparative analysis of WISC-III performance of traumatized and non-traumatized children. Diss Abstr Int: Sect A: Hum Soc Sciences 58:3419Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Sadeh A, Hayden RM, McGuire JP, Sachs H, Civita R (1994). Somatic, cognitive and emotional characteristics of abused children in a psychiatric hospital. Child Psychiatry Hum Dev 24: 191–200PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Beers SR, De Bellis MD (2002). Neuropsychological function in children with maltreatment-related posttraumatic stress disorder. Am J Psychiatry 159: 483–486CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Diamond T, Muller RT, Rondeau LA, Rich JB. (2001). The relationships among PTSD symptomatology and cognitive functioning in adult survivors of child maltreatment. In: Frank Columbus (eds). Advances in Psychology Research, Vol V. Nova Science Publishers, Huntington, NY, pp. 253–279Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Nader KO, Kriegler JA, Blake DD, Pynoos RS, Newman E, Weather FW (1996). Clinician Administered PTSD Scale, Child and Adolescent Version. National Center for PTSD, White River Junction, VTGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Blake DD, Weathers FW, Nagy LM, Kaloupeck DG (1995). The development of a clinician-administered PTSD scale. J Trama Stress 8: 75–90CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    The Psychological Corporation. (1999). Wechsler Abbreviated Scale of Intelligence. Harcourt Brace & Company, San Antonio, TXGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Dunmore E, Clark DM, Ehlers A (2001). A prospective investigation of the role of cognitive factors in persistent posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after physical or sexual assault. Behav Res Ther 39: 1063–1084CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Inc 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kasey M. Saltzman
    • 1
  • Carl F. Weems
    • 2
  • Victor G. Carrion
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Child and Adolescent PsychiatryStanford University School of MedicineStanfordUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of New OrleansNew OrleausUSA

Personalised recommendations