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Decision-making (DM) is a component of executive functioning. DM is essential to make proper decisions regarding important life and health issues. DM can be impaired in cognitive disorders among older adults, but current literature is scarce. The aim of this study was to evaluate the DM profile in participants with and without cognitive impairment.
Cross-sectional analysis of a cohort study on cognitive aging.
143 older adults.
University-based memory clinic.
Patients comprised three groups after inclusion and exclusion criteria: healthy controls (n=29), mild cognitive impairment (n=81) and dementia (n=33). Participants were evaluated using an extensive neuropsychological protocol. DM profile was evaluated by the Melbourne Decision Making Questionnaire. Multinomial logistic regression was used to evaluate associations between age, sex, educational level, estimated intelligence quotient (IQ), cognitive disorders, depressive or anxiety symptoms, and the DM profiles.
The most prevalent DM profile was the vigilant type, having a prevalence of 64.3%. The vigilant profile also predominated in all three groups. The multinomial logistic regression showed that the avoidance profile (i.e. buck-passing) was associated with a greater presence of dementia (p=0.046) and depressive symptoms (p=0.024), but with less anxious symptoms (p=0.047). The procrastination profile was also associated with depressive symptoms (p=0.048). Finally, the hypervigilant profile was associated with a lower pre-morbid IQ (p=0.007).
Older adults with cognitive impairment tended to make more unfavorable choices and have a more dysfunctional DM profile compared to healthy elders.
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