Background. Numerous studies have shown that anxiety and
depression are related to cognitive
impairment, but the concomitant association between anxious symptoms, depressive
cognitive function has not been investigated, and, most studies have not
drug use as a possible confounding factor.
Methods. We assessed the independent association between depression,
anxiety, psychotropic drug
use and cognitive performance in 457 men and 659 women, aged 59–71
years living in the
community. Data on demographic background, occupation, medical history,
drug use and personal
habits were obtained using a standardized questionnaire. The Spielberger
Inventory Trait and the
Center for Epidemiologic Study-Depression (CES-D) scales were used to evaluate
depressive symptomatology respectively. Cognitive assessment included six
covering the main areas of cognitive functioning.
Results. In men, anxious and depressive symptomatologies had
independent significant associations
with most cognitive abilities, independent of psychotropic drug use. In
women, the association
between anxiety or depression and cognitive functioning was less strong
and disappeared after
adjustment for psychotropic drug use. Psychotropic drug use was associated
with lower cognitive
scores in both sexes. In men with high CES-D scores, we found positive
anxiety level and cognitive scores.
Conclusions. The study showed that anxiety, depression and
psychotropic drug use were significantly
and independently associated with cognitive functioning in elderly men.
The high prevalence of
psychotropic drug use in women with or without psychological disorders
may explain its major
effect in women. Results suggested that anxiety may partly compensate for
effects of depression on cognitive functioning.