טכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל
הטכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל - בית הספר ללימודי מוסמכים  
Ph.D Thesis
Ph.D StudentGil Sharon
SubjectThe Relationship between Memory of the Traumatic Event and
the Development of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder:
A Study in Head Trauma Victims
DepartmentDepartment of Medicine
Supervisor Professor Emeritus Ehud Klein


Abstract

The present study examined the assumption that absence of memory for details of the traumatic event might play a protective role against developing PTSD among victims of head injury. 120 participants, who were recruited form the surgery unit in Rambam medical center, were evaluated prospectively over six months following head trauma. Additional 120 participants, who were recruited from the neuro-cognitive clinic in Rambam mediacl center, were evaluated retrospectively in average three years following head trauma. All participants went through psychiatric, personality, and cognitive evaluation as well as assessment of memory for details of the traumatic event. Data analysis revealed that in the two populations, participants with memory were significantly more likely to develop PTSD compared to those without memory (prospective population: OR=4.7, CI=1.0,9.9 / retrospective population: OR=5.5; CI=1.0,9.3). Specifically, in the prospective population, 13 (23%) out of 55 participants with memory developed PTSD six months after the trauma, whereas only 4 (6%) out of the 65 participants without memory developed PTSD (c2=21.3; p<.001). In the retrospective population, 16 (33%) out of 48 participants with memory developed PTSD, whereas only 6 (8%) out of the 72 participants without memory developed PTSD (c2=24.2; p<.001). These findings highlight the importance of memory for the traumatic event as a positive predictor in the development of PTSD. However, although memory appears as a strong predictor of PTSD, lack of memory does not preclude the possibility of its occurrence.