To comprehensively understand and treat Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), we need to accurately assess how PTSD symptoms affect people's daily functioning (e.g., in work, study, and relationships). However, the predominant use of self-report functional impairment measures—which are not validated against observable behavior—limits our understanding of this issue. To address this gap, we examined the relationship between posttraumatic stress (PTS) symptoms (including symptom clusters) and subjective and objective measures of functional impairment in the education domain. University students completed online self-report measures of educational impairment, PTS symptoms, intelligence and childhood trauma. We accessed participants’ average grades at the end of the semester in which they participated. After controlling for IQ and childhood trauma, increased PTS symptoms were associated with both higher subjective educational impairment and lower Grade Point Average; this relationship was strongest for subjective global ratings of educational impairment, compared to educational impairment assessed according to specific examples. Our results suggest conceptual overlap between symptoms and impairment, and point to the benefit of using both objective and subjective modes of assessing impairment.
- Educational domain