Dimensions of Poststroke Depression and Neuropsychological Deficits in Older Adults.

TitleDimensions of Poststroke Depression and Neuropsychological Deficits in Older Adults.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsKanellopoulos D, Wilkins V, Avari J, Oberlin L, Arader L, Chaplin M, Banerjee S, Alexopoulos GS
JournalAm J Geriatr Psychiatry
Date Published2020 07
KeywordsAged, Aged, 80 and over, Apathy, Attention, Cognition, Cognitive Dysfunction, Cross-Sectional Studies, Depression, Executive Function, Female, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Neuropsychological Tests, Stroke, Stroke Rehabilitation

OBJECTIVE: Poststroke depression (PSD) has a heterogeneous presentation and is often accompanied by cognitive impairment. This study aimed to identify distinct dimensions of depressive symptoms in older adults with PSD and to evaluate their relationship to cognitive functioning.

DESIGN: Cross-sectional factor and correlational analyses of patients with poststroke depression.

SETTING: Patients were recruited from the community and from acute inpatient stroke rehabilitation hospitals.

PARTICIPANTS: Participants had suffered a stroke and met DSM-IV criteria for major depression (≥18 Montgomery Åsberg Depression Scale; MADRS).


MEASUREMENTS: MADRS was used to quantify depression severity at study entry. Neuropsychological assessment at the time of study entry consisted of measures of Global Cognition, Attention, Executive Function, Processing Speed, Immediate Memory, Delayed Memory, and Language.

RESULTS: There were 135 (age ≥50) older adult participants with PSD and varying degrees of cognitive impairment (MMSE Total ≥20). Factor analysis of the MADRS identified three factors, that is sadness, distress, and apathy. Items comprising each factor were totaled and correlated with neuropsychological domain z-score averages. Symptoms of the apathy factor (lassitude, inability to feel) were significantly associated with greater impairment in executive function, memory, and global cognition. Symptoms of the sadness and distress factors had no relationship to cognitive impairment.

CONCLUSION: PSD consists of three correlated dimensions of depressive symptoms. Apathy symptoms are associated with cognitive impairment across several neuropsychological domains. PSD patients with prominent apathy may benefit from careful attention to cognitive functions and by interventions that address both psychopathology and behavioral deficits resulting from cognitive impairment.

Alternate JournalAm J Geriatr Psychiatry
PubMed ID32081532
PubMed Central IDPMC7354891
Grant ListP50 MH113838 / MH / NIMH NIH HHS / United States
R01 MH096685 / MH / NIMH NIH HHS / United States
T32 MH019132 / MH / NIMH NIH HHS / United States