Objective: The purpose of this study was to determine the influence of depression and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) on neuropsychological performance of returning Veterans.
Method: Data was utilized from 138 returning Veterans who were either diagnosed with or without PTSD and who had completed a neuropsychological evaluation.
Results: A 2X2 analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) of the General Memory Index (GMI) scores of the Wechsler Memory Scale III with age as a covariate and PTSD group (PTSD vs. non-PTSD) and depressive classifications (depressed vs. not depressed) as between subject variables was conducted. A main effect of PTSD, F (1, 333) = 4.01, p = .05, demonstrated that GMI scores were higher in the PTSD (M = 97.48) compared with the non-PTSD group (M = 92.48). A significant main effect of depression was uncovered, F (1, 133) = 9.36, p<.01 with depressed Veterans (M = 90.72) demonstrating lower scores compared with non-depressed veterans (M = 98.08). A significant interaction between depression and PTSD group, F (1, 133) = 4.75, p<.05 was noted. In follow-up contrasts, GMI scores were significantly lower in non-PTSD Veterans with depression (M = 85.92) compared with PTSD Veterans with depression, t (80) = 3.87, p<.001. Conclusion: These results suggest that depressive symptoms may have less of an effect on neuropsychological performance in Veterans with PTSD. These results highlight the importance of considering depressive symptoms when assessing neuropsychological performance in Veterans and may have implications for the development of specific treatment strategies as well as future studies.