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

Authors

  • C. J. P. Simons,

    1. Department of Psychiatry and Neuropsychology, Maastricht University, European Graduate School of Neuroscience, Maastricht, the Netherlands
    2. GGz Eindhoven, Eindhoven, the Netherlands
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  • N. Jacobs,

    1. Department of Psychiatry and Neuropsychology, Maastricht University, European Graduate School of Neuroscience, Maastricht, the Netherlands
    2. Faculty of Psychology, Open University of the Netherlands, Heerlen, the Netherlands
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  • C. Derom,

    1. Department of Human Genetics, University Hospital Gasthuisberg, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Leuven, Belgium
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  • E. Thiery,

    1. Association for Scientific Research in Multiple Births, Ghent, Belgium
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  • J. Jolles,

    1. Department of Psychiatry and Neuropsychology, Maastricht University, European Graduate School of Neuroscience, Maastricht, the Netherlands
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  • J. Van Os,

    1. Department of Psychiatry and Neuropsychology, Maastricht University, European Graduate School of Neuroscience, Maastricht, the Netherlands
    2. Division of Psychological Medicine, Institute of Psychiatry, De Crespigny Park, London, UK
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  • L. Krabbendam

    1. Department of Psychiatry and Neuropsychology, Maastricht University, European Graduate School of Neuroscience, Maastricht, the Netherlands
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Dr L. Krabbendam, Department of Psychiatry and Neuropsychology, Maastricht University, PO Box 616 (VIJV1), 6200 MD Maastricht, the Netherlands.
E-mail: l.krabbendam@sp.unimaas.nl

Abstract

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.

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