Association Between Cognition and Depression: A Cross-Sectional and Longitudinal Study of Individuals with Learning Disabilities.
Description: Over the past twenty years the number of children identified with learning disabilities has risen drastically. In addition, 26 - 40% of these children also experience depression. While cognitive functioning has been demonstrated to be associated with depression, it is unclear whether the mood, vegetative, or cognitive symptoms of depression predict particular cognitive processes and vice versa. The purpose of this study was to determine which particular cognitive processes were associated with specific depressive symptoms and depression as a whole. Structural equation modeling (SEM) was conducted to test a model which examined how three cognitive processing factors (verbal & visual reasoning, and attention/working memory) were associated with three depressive symptom factors (disturbances in mood, vegetative, and cognitive functioning). The data for SEM came from a large data set of children with learning disabilities (n=227). Model fit results supported the proposed model, and a significant association was found between the attention/working memory factor and the depression symptom factor reflecting disturbances in cognitive functioning. Less robust relationships were observed between verbal reasoning and cognitive depressive symptoms and an approach toward the conventional level of significance was noted between visual reasoning and cognitive depressive symptoms. Using a sub-sample of original participants who were re-evaluated 20-25 years later (n=40), longitudinal analyses were conducted to determine the predictive power of cognitive functioning and depression over time. There was some indication for the predictive power of visual reasoning performance in childhood on mood symptoms of depression in adulthood. The most robust association at both time 1 and time 2 was between attention/working memory performance and cognitive symptoms of depression. However, the association appeared to be time specific and not predictive.
Date: August 2003
Creator: Schraufnagel, Caitlin D.