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J Psychosom Res. 2014 Jun;76(6):458-64. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychores.2014.04.001. Epub 2014 Apr 16.

Evaluation of objective and perceived mental fatigability in older adults with vascular risk.

Author information

  • 1School of Nursing, University of Rochester, United States; Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Rochester, United States. Electronic address: vankee_lin@urmc.rochester.edu.
  • 2William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital, Madison, WI, United States.
  • 3Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Rochester, United States.
  • 4School of Nursing, University of Rochester, United States.
  • 5School of Nursing, University of Rochester, United States; Department of Biostatistics and Computational Biology, School of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Rochester, United States.
  • 6Department of Neurology, School of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Rochester, United States.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

Mental fatigability refers to the failure to sustain participation in tasks requiring mental effort. Older adults with vascular risk are at particular risk for experiencing mental fatigability. The present study (1) tested a new way of measuring objective mental fatigability by examining its association with perceived mental fatigability; and (2) identified associated psychological, physiological, and situational predictors.

METHODS:

A cross-sectional study was conducted with 49 community-dwelling participants aged 75+ years with vascular risk. A 20-minute fatigability-manipulation task was used to induce mental fatigability and develop objective and perceived mental fatigability measures. Objective fatigability was calculated by the change of reaction time over the course of the task. Perceived fatigability was calculated by the change of fatigue self-reported before and after the task. A set of potential psychological, physiological, and situational predictors were measured.

RESULTS:

There was a significant increase in reaction time and self-reported fatigue to the fatigability manipulation task, indicating occurrence of objective and perceived mental fatigability. Reaction time and self-reported fatigue were moderately, but significantly correlated. Higher levels of executive control and having a history of more frequently engaging in mental activities were associated with lower objective mental fatigability. None of the examined factors were associated with perceived mental fatigability.

CONCLUSION:

Objective and perceived mental fatigability were sensitive to our fatigability-manipulation task. While these two measures were correlated, they were not associated with the same factors. These findings need to be validated in studies with a more heterogeneous sample and a greater variety of fatigability-manipulation tasks.

Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

KEYWORDS:

Executive control; History of mental activities; Mental fatigability; Reaction time

PMID:
24840140
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC4033905
[Available on 2015/6/1]
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