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PLoS One. 2013 Dec 26;8(12):e83351. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0083351. eCollection 2013.

Subjective cognitive complaints and the role of executive cognitive functioning in the working population: a case-control study.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden ; Stress Research Institute, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden.
2
Department of Psychology, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden.
3
Stress Research Institute, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden.
4
Stress Research Institute, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden ; Department of Public Health Sciences, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Cognitive functioning is important for managing work and life in general. However, subjective cognitive complaints (SCC), involving perceived difficulties with concentration, memory, decision making, and clear thinking are common in the general and working population and can be coupled with both lowered well-being and work ability. However, the relation between SCC and cognitive functioning across the adult age-span, and in the work force, is not clear as few population-based studies have been conducted on non-elderly adults. Thus, the present study aimed to test the relation between SCC and executive cognitive functioning in a population-based sample of employees.

METHODS:

Participants were 233 employees with either high (cases) or low (controls) levels of SCC. Group differences in neuropsychological test performance on three common executive cognitive tests were analysed through a set of analyses of covariance tests, including relevant covariates.

RESULTS & CONCLUSIONS:

In line with the a priori hypotheses, a high level of SCC was associated with significantly poorer executive cognitive performance on all three executive cognitive tests used, compared to controls with little SCC. Additionally, symptoms of depression, chronic stress and sleeping problems were found to play a role in the relations between SCC and executive cognitive functioning. No significant associations remained after adjusting for all these factors. The current findings contribute to an increased understanding of what characterizes SCC in the work force and may be used at different levels of prevention of- and intervention for SCC and related problems with executive cognitive functioning.

PMID:
24386185
PMCID:
PMC3873297
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0083351
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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