The Association of Anxiety and Depressive Symptoms With Cognitive Performance in Community-Dwelling Older Adults

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Abstract

The authors examined the association of anxiety, depressive symptoms, and their co-occurrence on cognitive processes in 102 community-dwelling older adults. Participants completed anxiety and depression questionnaires as well as measures of episodic and semantic memory, word fluency, processing speed/shifting attention, and inhibition. Participants with only increased anxiety had poorer processing speed/shifting attention and inhibition, but depressive symptoms alone were not associated with any cognitive deficits. Although coexisting anxiety and depressive symptoms were associated with deficits in 3 cognitive domains, reductions in inhibition were solely attributed to anxiety. Findings suggest an excess cognitive load on inhibitory ability in normal older adults reporting mild anxiety.

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