Decline of Executive Function in a Clinical Population: Age, Psychopathology, and Test Performance on the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery (CANTAB)
Applied neuropsychology. Adult
This study presents a cross-sectional examination of the age-related executive changes in a sample of adults with a history of psychiatric illness using the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery. A total of 406 patients, aged 18 to 72 years old, completed executive function tests of working memory, strategic planning, and set shifting. Using current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders-Fourth Edition criteria, patients were diagnosed with: (a) affective disorders
... affective disorders (N ¼ 153), (b) substance-related disorders (N ¼ 112), (c) personality disorders (N ¼ 82), or (d) pervasive developmental disorders (N ¼ 59). Test performances were compared to those of 52 healthy adults. Similar rates of age-related executive decline were found for patients and healthy participants. However, as adults with a history of psychiatric illness started out with significantly lower baseline levels of executive functioning, they may require less time before reaching a critical threshold where functional deficits emerge. Limitations as well as implications for future research were discussed.