Assessment of early neurocognitive functioning increases the accuracy of predicting chronic PTSD risk. Academic Article uri icon


  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a protracted and debilitating consequence of traumatic events. Identifying early predictors of PTSD can inform the disorder's risk stratification and prevention. We used advanced computational models to evaluate the contribution of early neurocognitive performance measures to the accuracy of predicting chronic PTSD from demographics and early clinical features. We consecutively enrolled adult trauma survivors seen in a general hospital emergency department (ED) to a 14-month long prospective panel study. Extreme Gradient Boosting algorithm evaluated the incremental contribution to 14 months PTSD risk of demographic variables, 1-month clinical variables, and concurrent neurocognitive performance. The main outcome variable was PTSD diagnosis, 14 months after ED admission, obtained by trained clinicians using the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS). N=138 trauma survivors (mean age=34.2511.73, range=18-64; n=73 [53%] women) were evaluated 1 month after ED admission and followed for 14 months, at which time n=33 (24%) met PTSD diagnosis. Demographics and clinical variables yielded a discriminatory accuracy of AUC=0.68 in classifying PTSD diagnostic status. Adding neurocognitive functioning improved the discriminatory accuracy (AUC=0.88); the largest contribution emanating from poorer cognitive flexibility, processing speed, motor coordination, controlled and sustained attention, emotional bias, and higher response inhibition, and recall memory. Impaired cognitive functioning 1-month after trauma exposure is a significant and independent risk factor for PTSD. Evaluating cognitive performance could improve early screening and prevention.

published proceedings

  • Mol Psychiatry

altmetric score

  • 8.55

author list (cited authors)

  • Schultebraucks, K., Ben-Zion, Z., Admon, R., Keynan, J. N., Liberzon, I., Hendler, T., & Shalev, A. Y.

citation count

  • 1

complete list of authors

  • Schultebraucks, Katharina||Ben-Zion, Ziv||Admon, Roee||Keynan, Jackob Nimrod||Liberzon, Israel||Hendler, Talma||Shalev, Arieh Y

publication date

  • April 2022