Depressive symptoms and cognitive functioning among older adults with cancer.

TitleDepressive symptoms and cognitive functioning among older adults with cancer.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsMorin, RT, Midlarsky, E
JournalAging & Mental Health
ISSN Number1364-6915
KeywordsCancer screenings, Cognitive Ability, Depressive symptoms

OBJECTIVE: The US population of older adults is growing, with an increase in diseases like cancer. As cancer rates increase, there is a concomitant increase in adverse correlates, such as cognitive impairment and depressive symptomatology. In order to develop appropriate interventions, it is vital to assess relationships among cancer, depressive symptoms and cognitive functioning.

METHODS: The sample consisted of 403 older adults with cancer diagnoses from the Health and Retirement Study. Using latent class growth analysis, longitudinal data were explored. The goals were to investigate trajectories of cognitive functioning, and to identify whether depressive symptoms and demographic factors predicted membership in the cognitive classes.

RESULTS: Three classes of cognitive functioning best fit the data: High, Middle and Low Recall, fairly stable trajectories from pre-diagnosis to a period four years after diagnosis. More depressive symptoms after diagnosis (but not prior) significantly predicted membership in the Low Recall class. Depressive symptoms did not distinguish between the High and Middle Recall classes.

CONCLUSION: Depressive symptomatology is thought to affect cognition in late life. We found that depressive symptoms after a cancer diagnosis, but not before, successfully differentiated between those who had Low Recall from those with Middle and High Recall. Implications are discussed.

User Guide Notes

Alternate JournalAging Ment Health
Citation Key9243
PubMed ID28786290