Association of attentional shift and reversal learning to functional deficits in geriatric depression.
The objective of this study is to examine the association between self-reported functional disability in depressed older adults and two types of executive function processes, attentional set shifting and reversal learning.Participants (N = 89) were aged 60 or over and enrolled in a naturalistic treatment study of major depressive disorder. Participants provided information on self-reported function in instrumental activities of daily living (IADL) and completed the Intra-Extra Dimensional Set Shift test (IED) from the Cambridge Neuropsychological Testing Automated Battery, which assesses intra-dimensional attentional shifts, extra-dimensional attentional shifts, and reversal learning. Participants were categorized by the presence or absence of IADL difficulties and compared on IED performance using bivariable and multivariable tests.Participants who reported IADL difficulties had more errors in extra-dimensional attentional shifting and reversal learning, but intra-dimensional shift errors were not associated with IADLs. Only extra-dimensional shift errors were significant in multivariable models that controlled for age, sex, and depression severity.Attentional shifting across categories (i.e., extra-dimensional) was most strongly associated with increased IADL difficulties among depressed older adults, which make interventions to improve flexible problem solving a potential target for reducing instrumental disability in this population.
Potter, GG; McQuoid, DR; Payne, ME; Taylor, WD; Steffens, DC
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