Published online by Cambridge University Press: 24 September 2020
Depression is common in people living with HIV (PLWH) and can contribute to neurocognitive dysfunction. Depressive symptoms in PLWH are often measured by assessing only cognitive/affective symptoms. Latinx adults, however, often express depressive symptoms in a somatic/functional manner, which is not typically captured in assessments of depression among PLWH. Given the disproportionate burden of HIV that Latinx adults face, examining whether variations in expressed depressive symptoms differentially predict neurocognitive outcomes between Latinx and non-Hispanic white PLWH is essential.
This cross-sectional study included 140 PLWH (71% Latinx; 72% male; mean (M) age = 47.1 ± 8.5 years; M education = 12.6 ± 2.9 years) who completed a comprehensive neurocognitive battery, Wechsler Test of Adult Reading (WTAR), and Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II). Neurocognitive performance was measured using demographically adjusted T-scores. BDI-II domain scores were computed for the Fast-Screen (cognitive/affective items) score (BDI-FS) and non-FS score (BDI-NFS; somatic/functional items).
Linear regressions revealed that the BDI-NFS significantly predicted global neurocognitive function and processing speed in the Latinx group (p < .05), such that higher physical/functional symptoms predicted worse performance. In the non-Hispanic white group, the cognitive/affective symptoms significantly predicted processing speed (p = .02), with more symptoms predicting better performance. Interaction terms of ethnicity and each BDI sub-score indicated that Latinx participants with higher cognitive/affective symptoms performed worse on executive functioning.
Depressive symptoms differentially predict neurocognitive performance in Latinx and non-Hispanic white PLWH. These differences should be considered when conducting research and intervention among the increasingly culturally and ethnically diverse population of PLWH.