Does executive dysfunction affect treatment outcome in late-life mood and anxiety disorders?
ABSTRACT Rates of treatment response among the elderly are typically lower than those found in younger samples. This article discusses specific biological and psychological aspects of aging that may impact the effectiveness of treatments for late-life mood and anxiety disorders. Although empirical evidence for the role of executive skills in treatment outcome is currently quite limited, the small number of existing studies suggest that some older adults with deficits in executive skills may respond poorly to popular treatments for depression and anxiety compared with those with intact executive functions. However, there are likely to be additional mediating factors. This article provides a definition and description of executive functions, including a summary of popular assessment tools. The literature on treatment outcome is reviewed, and future directions are discussed.