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Title:Executive dysfunction, mediated by rumination, anticipates increases in depressive symptoms
Author(s):Letkiewicz, Allison
Advisor(s):Heller, Wendy
Department / Program:Psychology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Executive function
Executive function deficits
Executive dysfunction
Working Memory
Abstract:Depression is associated with disruptions in cognitive processes as well as in affect. Executive function (EF) deficits are among the most common cognitive disruptions associated with depression, but the causal relationships between EF and depression are unclear. EF deficits may exacerbate symptoms and hence may play a role in the development, maintenance, or recurrence of depression. In turn, depression may disrupt EF. The present study examined whether EF prospectively predicted worsening of depression symptoms. Shifting, inhibition, and working memory (WM) aspects of EF were assessed in relation to anhedonic depression change scores in 51 participants with a range of risk for depression. Since rumination has previously been associated with worse EF and depressive symptoms, rumination was tested as a mediator of the association between EF and depression change scores. Taken together, analyses indicated that poorer WM at time 1, but not shifting or inhibition, predicted an increase in depressive symptoms. When a mediation analysis was conducted with rumination as a mediator, the association between WM and depression change scores was no longer significant, indicating that rumination fully mediated the relationship between WM and depressive symptoms. Findings suggest that EF influences the occurrence of depressive symptoms. In addition, rumination plays an important role in the link between WM deficits and depressive symptoms. Efforts aimed at preventing rumination or targeting ruminative processes in treatment may reduce risk for depression.
Issue Date:2013-05-24
Rights Information:Copyright 2013 Allison Letkiewicz
Date Available in IDEALS:2013-05-24
Date Deposited:2013-05

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