Cognition as predictor of current and follow-up depressive symptoms in the general population

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Simons CJP, Jacobs N, Derom C, Thiery E, Jolles J, van Os J, Krabbendam L. Cognition as predictor of current and follow-up depressive symptoms in the general population. Objective: 

Previous studies have reported an association between depression and poor cognitive functioning. Unknown is to what degree such associations are merely state-related or reflect an enduring depression vulnerability. This study examined whether cognitive deficits predict current and/or follow-up (sub)clinical depressive symptoms in the general population. Method: 

A population-based sample of 569 female twins and 43 of their sisters completed a neuropsychological battery. Cross-sectional and prospective associations between depressive symptoms measured at the subclinical [Symptom Checklist-90 (SCL-90)] and clinical level (Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV disorders) and neuropsychological factors (episodic memory and information processing speed) were examined. Results: 

Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV disorders baseline depressive symptoms were significantly associated with information processing speed but not with episodic memory. Episodic memory was significantly associated with follow-up SCL-90 depressive symptoms. Conclusion: 

Being depressed is accompanied by slower information processing. Poor memory functioning may be a predictor for the onset of subclinical depressive symptoms.

Keywords: cognition; depression; follow-up studies; memory; risk factors

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Human Genetics, University Hospital Gasthuisberg, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Leuven, Belgium 2: Association for Scientific Research in Multiple Births, Ghent, Belgium 3: Department of Psychiatry and Neuropsychology, Maastricht University, European Graduate School of Neuroscience, Maastricht, the Netherlands

Publication date: July 1, 2009

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