Longitudinal Associations Among Older Adults' Neurocognitive Performance, Psychological Distress, and Self-Reported Cognitive Function

Paul J Geiger, Rebecca G Reed, Hannah L Combs, Ian A Boggero, Suzanne C Segerstrom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Subjective cognitive complaints increase with age. Although subjective cognitive difficulties have been linked to cognitive impairment and psychological distress, some studies have failed to establish a link between subjective cognitive complaints and present or future cognitive impairment. The present study examined the interactive, longitudinal effects of age, psychological distress, and objective cognitive performance on subjective cognitive function. Older adults (N=147, Mage = 74.17) were assessed biannually for up to six years. Subjective cognitive function, psychological distress, and neuropsychological testing were obtained at each assessment. In multilevel models with single predictors, age, poorer average task-switching and poorer memory predicted worse subjective cognitive functioning. Both average levels and within-person deviations in distress predicted worse subjective cognitive function. There were two significant interactions: one between average distress and chronological age, and the other between average memory and within-person distress. Task switching performance and distress had an additive effect on subjective cognitive function. Both individual differences (i.e., between-person differences) and fluctuations over time (i.e., within-person changes) contributed to worse subjective cognitive function. Psychological distress may help explain the relationship between objective cognitive performance and subjective cognitive function and should be assessed when patient concerns about cognitive functioning arise.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)224-235
Number of pages12
JournalPsychology & neuroscience
Volume12
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2019

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