Are poor set-shifting and central coherence associated with everyday function in anorexia nervosa? A systematic review

Kelly M. Dann, Phillipa Hay, Stephen Touyz
2021 Journal of Eating Disorders  
Background There is increasing interest in associations between cognitive impairments and clinical symptoms in Anorexia Nervosa (AN), however, the relationship with everyday function is unclear. The current review synthesizes existing data regarding associations between scores on tests of set-shifting and central coherence and functional outcome measures for individuals with AN. Method A systematic electronic database search yielded 13 studies which included participants with current or
more » ... AN where scores on a neuropsychological test of set-shifting or central coherence were directly or indirectly compared to a functional outcome measure. Results Associations between set-shifting and central coherence performance measures and functional outcomes were limited in number and noted only in adult or mixed-age cohorts. Associations were noted at subscale level, suggesting they are specific in nature. In younger cohorts, assessments of executive functioning in everyday life appear sensitive to cognitive-behavioral flexibility issues. Conclusions Associations between cognitive performance and functional outcome have not been as systematically assessed in AN as in other psychiatric disorders. Key factors to address in future research include: (a) the use of function measures which are sensitive to both the level of impairment, and specific rather than general impairments (b) the ecological validity of measures, (c) the task impurity problem, especially in regard to cognitive flexibility assessment, and (d) the need to measure both cognitive deficits and strengths, because tests of specific cognitive processes may underestimate the ability to function in daily life due to compensatory strategies.
doi:10.1186/s40337-021-00392-x pmid:33781337 fatcat:5eyfjkrx6nagfndqdxt5zy76na