Abstract Title

History of Depression is Not Related to Cognitive Function in Healthy Middle-Age and Older Adults

Abstract

Background/Objective: Depressed middle-age and older adults exhibit higher rates of cognitive impairment and are more likely to have difficulty completing everyday tasks. Less is known about the neurocognitive impact of history of depression, though conceptual models suggest it may also increase risk for poor outcomes. The current study examined history of depression on cognitive function in a sample of healthy middle-age and older adults.

Methods: Data from 163 community-dwelling participants (Mage=64.4, +/-5.52) were used for the current analyses. Participants were asked to complete a brief medical history form and the NIH Toolbox cognitive test battery, which includes measures of attention, executive function, and memory. Independent sample t-tests were used to compare persons with and without self-reported history of depression on tests of cognitive performance.

Results: Independent sample t-tests showed no significant between-group differences on any measure of cognitive function. However, participants without history of depression trended toward better performance on List Sort task than participants with history of depression (t=1.83, df=161, p=0.70).

Discussion: Results showed no effect of reported history of depression on cognitive function in a healthy sample of middle-age and older adults. If replicated in other samples, this finding suggests that current level of depression – rather than past history – is a more significant risk factor for cognitive impairment. Future studies should seek to replicate this effect in a larger sample and asses treatment of depression on these trajectories.

Modified Abstract

Abstract: Depressed middle-age and older adults exhibit higher rates of cognitive impairment and are more likely to have difficulty completing everyday tasks. Less is known about the neurocognitive impact of history of depression, though conceptual models suggest it may also increase risk for poor outcomes. The current study examined history of depression on cognitive function in a sample of healthy middle-age and older adults. Data from 163 community-dwelling participants (Mage=64.4, +/-5.52) were used for the current analyses. Participants were asked to complete a brief medical history form and the NIH Toolbox cognitive test battery, which includes measures of attention, executive function, and memory. Independent sample t-tests showed no significant between-group differences on any measure of cognitive function. Future studies should seek to replicate this effect in a larger sample and asses treatment of depression on these trajectories.

Research Category

Psychology

Primary Author's Major

Psychology

Mentor #1 Information

Dr. John

Gunstad

Presentation Format

Poster

Start Date

April 2019

Research Area

Cognition and Perception

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Apr 9th, 1:00 PM

History of Depression is Not Related to Cognitive Function in Healthy Middle-Age and Older Adults

Background/Objective: Depressed middle-age and older adults exhibit higher rates of cognitive impairment and are more likely to have difficulty completing everyday tasks. Less is known about the neurocognitive impact of history of depression, though conceptual models suggest it may also increase risk for poor outcomes. The current study examined history of depression on cognitive function in a sample of healthy middle-age and older adults.

Methods: Data from 163 community-dwelling participants (Mage=64.4, +/-5.52) were used for the current analyses. Participants were asked to complete a brief medical history form and the NIH Toolbox cognitive test battery, which includes measures of attention, executive function, and memory. Independent sample t-tests were used to compare persons with and without self-reported history of depression on tests of cognitive performance.

Results: Independent sample t-tests showed no significant between-group differences on any measure of cognitive function. However, participants without history of depression trended toward better performance on List Sort task than participants with history of depression (t=1.83, df=161, p=0.70).

Discussion: Results showed no effect of reported history of depression on cognitive function in a healthy sample of middle-age and older adults. If replicated in other samples, this finding suggests that current level of depression – rather than past history – is a more significant risk factor for cognitive impairment. Future studies should seek to replicate this effect in a larger sample and asses treatment of depression on these trajectories.