Life functioning difficulties are a relevant but undervalued consequence of major depression. Mood symptoms and cognitive deficits have a significant, and somehow independent, impact on them. Therefore, cognitive difficulties should be considered a potential target to improve patients’ functioning.
To examine the degree in which objective and subjective cognition explain functional outcome.
To assess objective cognitive function (CF) with a neuropsychological battery and to measure subjective CF using measures of cognitive perception.
Ninety-nine patients with depression were assessed by age, sex and level of schooling. Depressive symptoms severity was measured by Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS-17). Objective CF consisted in the following cognitive domains: memory, attention, executive functioning and processing speed. Subjective CF was assessed with Perceived Deficit Questionnaire-Depression (PDQ-D). Functioning Assessment Short Test (FAST) was used to evaluate life functioning, excluding the cognitive domain. All the listed measures were included in a multiple regression analysis with FAST scores as dependent variable.
The regression model was significant (F1,98 = 67.484, P < 0.001) with an R of 0.825. The variables showing statistical power included (from higher to lower β-coefficient) HDRS-17 (β = 0.545, t = 8.453, P < 0.001), PDQ-D (β = 0.383, t = 6.047, P < 0.001) and DSST (β = −0.123, t = −1.998, P = 0.049).
The severity of depressive symptoms is the variable that best explains life functioning. Surprisingly, the second factor hindering it is the patients’ perception of their cognition. Current findings highlight the importance of correcting cognitive bias in order to improve functionality. However, results have to be taken cautiously as mood symptoms could partly explain the bias.
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.