Predictors of Long-Term Improvement Following Cognitive Remediation in a Sample With Elevated Depressive Symptoms

Objective

Cognitive remediation (CR) techniques (interventions to enhance cognitive functioning) have proven moderately effective in improving cognition and daily functioning in major depressive disorder (MDD). However, baseline predictors of treatment response are lacking. The present study aimed to identify factors influencing long-term CR outcomes in a sample with current or previous, mild or moderate MDD and with self-reported cognitive deficits.

Methods

Forty-two completers of group-based CR (strategy learning or drill-and-practice), were pooled into one sample. Based on change scores from baseline to 6-month follow-up, participants were categorized as “improvers” or “non-improvers” using reliable change index calculations. Measures included a questionnaire of everyday executive functioning and a neuropsychological test of attention. Finally, improvers and non-improvers were compared in terms of various sociodemographic, psychological, illness-related, and neuropsychological baseline variables.

Results

Seventeen participants improved reliably in everyday executive functioning, and fourteen demonstrated a reliable improvement in attention. No statistically significant differences emerged between improvers and non-improvers.

Conclusion

No major predictors of CR were identified. Importantly, the current findings are insufficient to guide clinical decision-making. Large-scale studies with a priori hypotheses are needed to make advances in the future.

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