Anxious symptoms and cognitive function in non-demented older adults: an inverse relationship
Article first published online: 15 SEP 2011
Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
Volume 27, Issue 8, pages 792–798, August 2012
How to Cite
Stillman, A. N., Rowe, K. C., Arndt, S. and Moser, D. J. (2012), Anxious symptoms and cognitive function in non-demented older adults: an inverse relationship. Int. J. Geriat. Psychiatry, 27: 792–798. doi: 10.1002/gps.2785
- Issue published online: 5 JUL 2012
- Article first published online: 15 SEP 2011
- Manuscript Accepted: 15 JUL 2011
- Manuscript Received: 24 MAR 2011
- cognitive function;
- older adults
The goals of this study were to determine the relationship between anxious symptoms and cognitive functioning in a non-demented, community-dwelling older adults sample (n = 48), and to determine the effect of depressive symptoms upon this relationship.
Anxious and depressive symptoms were assessed using the Symptom Checklist 90—Revised. Cognitive functioning was assessed with the Repeatable Battery for the Assessment of Neuropsychological Status.
Results indicated that although both cognitive functioning and anxious symptoms were within normal limits in this sample, anxious symptoms showed a significant, inverse relationship with global cognitive function [r(47) = −0.400, p = 0.005]. In addition, specific relationships were noted between severity of anxious symptoms and visuospatial/constructional ability as well as immediate and delayed memory. With regard to the secondary objective, both anxiety and depressive symptoms together accounted for the highest level of variance [R2 = 0.175, F(2, 45) = 4.786, p = 0.013] compared with anxiety [R2(47) = 0.160, p = 0.005] and depression [R2(47) = 0.106, p = 0.024] alone. Nevertheless, neither anxious nor depressive symptoms emerged as a unique correlate with cognitive ability [r(47) = −0.278, p = 0.058; r(48) = −0.136, p = 0.363, respectively].
This study demonstrates that subthreshold anxiety symptoms and cognitive functioning are significantly related even among generally healthy older adults whose cognitive ability and severity of anxious symptoms are within broad normal limits. These findings have implications both for clinical care of older patients, as well as for cognitive research studies utilizing this population. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.