Mild worry symptoms predict decline in learning and memory in healthy older adults: A 2-year prospective cohort study

Robert H. Pietrzak, Paul Maruff, Michael Woodward, Julia Fredrickson, Amy Fredrickson, John H. Krystal, Steven M. Southwick, David Darby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: Theoretical models of cognitive aging are increasingly recognizing the importance of anxiety and depressive symptoms in predicting age-related cognitive changes and early dementia. This study examined the association between mild worry and depressive symptoms, and cognitive function in healthy, community-dwelling older adults. Method: A total of 263 healthy older adults participated in an observational prospective cohort study that assessed worry and depression symptoms, and a broad range of cognitive functions over a 2-year period. Results: Older adults with mildly elevated worry symptoms at baseline performed worse than older adults with minimal worry symptoms on measures of visual and paired associate learning. They were also more likely to show clinically significant (> 1.5 standard deviation) decline in visual learning and memory at a 2-year follow-up assessment (9.4% versus 2.5%; odds ratio = 3.8). Conclusion: Assessment of worry symptoms, even mild levels, may have utility in predicting early cognitive decline in healthy, community-dwelling older adults.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)266-275
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
Volume20
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2012
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Anxiety
  • cognition
  • depression
  • healthy older adults
  • learning
  • memory
  • processing efficiency theory

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Mild worry symptoms predict decline in learning and memory in healthy older adults: A 2-year prospective cohort study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this