The association of anxiety and depressive symptoms with cognitive performance in community-dwelling older adults

Psychol Aging. 2009 Jun;24(2):507-12. doi: 10.1037/a0016035.


The authors examined the association of anxiety, depressive symptoms, and their co-occurrence on cognitive processes in 102 community-dwelling older adults. Participants completed anxiety and depression questionnaires as well as measures of episodic and semantic memory, word fluency, processing speed/shifting attention, and inhibition. Participants with only increased anxiety had poorer processing speed/shifting attention and inhibition, but depressive symptoms alone were not associated with any cognitive deficits. Although coexisting anxiety and depressive symptoms were associated with deficits in 3 cognitive domains, reductions in inhibition were solely attributed to anxiety. Findings suggest an excess cognitive load on inhibitory ability in normal older adults reporting mild anxiety.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / psychology*
  • Anxiety / diagnosis*
  • Anxiety / epidemiology
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Cognition Disorders / epidemiology
  • Cognition Disorders / psychology
  • Comorbidity
  • Data Collection
  • Depression / diagnosis*
  • Depression / epidemiology
  • Depression / psychology
  • Geriatric Assessment
  • Humans
  • Inhibition, Psychological
  • Memory Disorders / diagnosis
  • Memory Disorders / psychology
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests / statistics & numerical data
  • Personality Inventory
  • Surveys and Questionnaires