Depressed mood in multiple sclerosis: relationship to capacity-demanding memory and attentional functioning

Neuropsychology. 1999 Jul;13(3):434-46. doi: 10.1037//0894-4105.13.3.434.


Because it is theorized that depression results in reduced available attentional capacity that, in turn, can explain the impaired performance on capacity-demanding tasks in depressed individuals, the authors predicted that multiple sclerosis (MS) patients with depressed mood would have difficulty with these types of tasks. Twenty depressed mood MS participants were compared with 41 nondepressed mood MS participants and 8 nondepressed mood controls on 5 attentional capacity-demanding clinical memory and attentional tasks and 3 tasks with minimal capacity demands. Depressed mood MS patients performed significantly worse than both nondepressed mood groups on the 3 speeded capacity-demanding attentional measures but not on any of the tasks requiring few capacity demands, supporting the authors' predictions. The possibility that the impaired performance of depressed mood MS patients on speeded attentional tasks was mediated by reduced verbal working memory capacity, impaired deployment of executive strategies that access working memory capacity, or psychomotor slowing is explored.

MeSH terms

  • Attention / physiology*
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology
  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis*
  • Depressive Disorder / etiology*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory Disorders / diagnosis
  • Memory Disorders / etiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Sclerosis / psychology*
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Psychomotor Disorders / diagnosis
  • Psychomotor Disorders / etiology
  • Severity of Illness Index