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Psychol Med. 2004 Jan;34(1):83-91.

Cognitive functions in depressive disorders: evidence from a population-based study.

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1
Department of Public Health Sciences, Division of Social Medicine, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm University, Stockham, Sweden.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Most of the available evidence on the effects of depression is based on in- and out-patient samples focusing on individuals suffering from major depression. The aims of this study were to examine cognitive functioning in population-based samples and to determine whether cognitive performance varies as a function of depression subgroup.

METHOD:

Population-based samples (aged 20-64 years) with major depression (N = 68), dysthymia (N = 28), mixed anxiety-depressive disorder (N = 25) and minor depression (N = 66) were examined on a variety of cognitive tasks (i.e. episodic memory, verbal fluency, perceptual-motor speed and mental flexibility). One hundred and seventy-five non-depressed individuals served as controls.

RESULTS:

The total group of depressed individuals showed impairments in tasks tapping episodic memory and mental flexibility. Of more interest, however, was the observation that the pattern of impairments varied as a function of depression subgroup: the major depression and mixed anxiety-depressive disorder groups exhibited significant memory dysfunction, whereas individuals with dysthymia showed pronounced difficulties in mental flexibility. Minor depression did not affect cognitive performance. Verbal fluency and perceptual-motor speed were not affected by depression.

CONCLUSIONS:

These results indicate that persons with depressive disorders in the population exhibit cognitive impairments in tasks tapping episodic memory and mental flexibility and that cognitive impairment varies as a function of depressive disorder.

PMID:
14971629
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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