Impact of Lifetime Trauma on Cognition: Trauma Exposure and Resilience as Predictors of Cognitive Functioning

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dc.contributor.advisor Lachman, Margie
dc.contributor.author Lynch, Kristin
dc.date.accessioned 2018-09-17T15:39:39Z
dc.date.available 2018-09-17T15:39:39Z
dc.date.issued 2018
dc.identifier.uri https://hdl.handle.net/10192/35921
dc.description.abstract Trauma exposure leads to poor health outcomes, such as elevated inflammation, and increased inflammation is associated with cognitive decline. This suggests a potential link between trauma and cognition. Resilient individuals can positively adapt to traumatic experiences, potentially avoiding some consequences of trauma exposure. We examined trauma, resilience, and age of trauma exposure as predictors of level and change in cognitive functioning. Data were from the Midlife in the United States (MIDUS) study, a national survey that began in 1995 with 7,108 participants, aged 24 to 75. Trauma exposure, resilience, and age of exposure were from the 2004 wave, while cognitive data were from the 2004 and 2013 waves. Multilevel modeling showed that resilience significantly predicted level (Est. = 0.09, SE = 0.04, p<.05) and change (Est. = 0.07, SE = 0.03, p<.05) in executive functioning (EF), and also interacted with trauma in relation to change in EF (Est. = 0.08, SE = 0.04, p<.05) and level of episodic memory (EM; Est. = 0.12, SE = 0.05, p<.05). Delta pseudo-R^2 values were small (0.01 to 0.03). Individuals with more resilience had higher EF and less EF decline than those with less resilience. Among individuals with high trauma exposure, those with more resilience had less EF decline. For individuals with low resilience, those with more trauma exposure had lower levels of EM. These findings highlight the importance of resilience in cognitive functioning and decline, and identify trauma exposure as a risk factor for cognitive decline in less resilient individuals.
dc.description.sponsorship Brandeis University, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
dc.format.mimetype application/pdf
dc.language English
dc.language.iso eng
dc.publisher Brandeis University
dc.relation.ispartofseries Brandeis University Theses and Dissertations
dc.rights Copyright by Kristin Lynch 2018
dc.subject Cognition
dc.subject Trauma
dc.subject Resilience
dc.title Impact of Lifetime Trauma on Cognition: Trauma Exposure and Resilience as Predictors of Cognitive Functioning
dc.type Thesis
dc.contributor.department Department of Psychology
dc.degree.name MA
dc.degree.level Masters
dc.degree.discipline Psychology
dc.degree.grantor Brandeis University, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences


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