PTSD linked to cognition in women

Access to the full content of this site is available only to registered healthcare professionals. Register to read more


  • Compared with those with no trauma, women who graded out as having probable posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) performed worse on psychomotor speed/attention and learning/working memory.

Why this matters

  • There has been little previous research regarding PTSD and cognition in women.

Study design

  • 14,151 in the Nurses’ Health Study II were completed the Cogstate Brief Battery, a self-administered online cognitive test.
  • Funding: NIH.

Key results

  • After adjustment for age, compared with women with no trauma, women with 4-7 PTSD symptoms had a worse performance in psychomotor speed/attention (b, −0.08 units) as well as learning/working memory (b, −0.10 units).  
  • The difference in learning/working memory was about equivalent to the effect of 4 y of aging.


  • The study cannot prove causation.
  • The study relied on self-reports.
  • The Cogstate battery was conducted years after the assessment of PTSD.