Positive and negative affect, depression, and cognitive processes in the Cognition in the Study of Tamoxifen and Raloxifene (Co-STAR) Trial

a Wake Forest School of Medicine , Winston-Salem , NC , USA.
Aging Neuropsychology and Cognition (Impact Factor: 1.07). 12/2012; 20(5). DOI: 10.1080/13825585.2012.747671
Source: PubMed


This study examined the relationship between positive and negative affect, depressive symptoms, and cognitive performance.

The sample consisted of 1479 non-demented, postmenopausal women (mean age = 67 years) at increased risk of breast cancer enrolled in the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project's Study of Tamoxifen and Raloxifene. At each annual visit, women completed a standardized neuropsychological battery and self-report measures of affect and depression. Data from three visits were used in linear mixed models for repeated measures using likelihood ratio tests. Separate analyses were performed to relate positive/negative affect and depression to each cognitive measure.

Higher positive affect was associated with better letter fluency (p = .006) and category fluency (p < .0001). Higher negative affect was associated with worse global cognitive function (p < .0001), verbal memory (CVLT List B; p = .002), and spatial ability (p < .0001). Depressive symptoms were negatively associated with verbal knowledge (p = .004), figural memory (p < .0001), and verbal memory (p's ≤ .0001).

Findings are consistent with some prior research demonstrating a link between positive affect and increased verbal fluency and between depressive symptoms and decreased memory. The most novel finding shows that negative affect is related to decreased global cognition and visuospatial ability. Overall, this research in a large, longitudinal sample supports the notion that positive affect is related to increases and negative affect to decreases in performance on distinct cognitive measures.

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