Longitudinal associations of affective symptoms with midlife cognitive function: evidence from a British birth cohort

John, Amber, James, Sarah-Naomi, Patel, Urvisha, Rusted, Jennifer, Richards, Marcus and Gaysina, Darya (2019) Longitudinal associations of affective symptoms with midlife cognitive function: evidence from a British birth cohort. British Journal of Psychiatry. ISSN 0007-1250 (Accepted)

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Background: Affective disorders are associated with poorer cognition in older adults; however, whether this association can already be observed in midlife remains unclear.

Aims: This study investigated effects of affective symptoms over a period of 30 years on midlife cognitive function. First, we explored whether timing (sensitive period) or persistence (accumulation) of affective symptoms predicted cognitive function. Second, we tested how different longitudinal trajectories of affective symptoms were associated with cognitive function.

Method: The study used data from the National Child Development Study. Memory, verbal fluency, information processing speed and accuracy were measured at age 50. Affective symptoms were measured at ages 23, 33, 42, and 50 and used to derive longitudinal trajectories. A structured modelling approach compared a set of nested models to test accumulation versus sensitive period hypotheses. Linear regressions and structural equation modelling were used to test for longitudinal associations of affective symptoms with cognitive function.

Results: Accumulation of affective symptoms was found to be the best fit for the data, with persistent affective symptoms being associated with poorer immediate memory (B=-0.07, SE=0.03, P=.01), delayed memory (B=-0.13, SE=0.04, P<.001), and information processing accuracy (B=0.18, SE=0.08, P=.03), but not with information processing speed (B=3.15, SE=1.89, P=.10). Longitudinal trajectories of repeated affective symptoms were associated with poorer memory, verbal fluency, and information processing accuracy.

Conclusions: Persistent affective symptoms can affect cognitive function in midlife. Effective management of affective disorders to prevent recurrence may reduce risk of poor cognitive outcomes and promote healthy cognitive ageing.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
Research Centres and Groups: Dementia Research Group
Depositing User: Sanjeedah Choudhury
Date Deposited: 17 Jan 2019 11:31
Last Modified: 17 Jan 2019 11:44
URI: http://srodev.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/81323

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