University of Sussex
GAYSINA_Journal_of_Affective_Disorders_AUG_2019_author_copy.pdf (521.27 kB)

Effects of affective symptoms in adolescence and adulthood on trajectories of cognitive function from middle to late adulthood

Download (521.27 kB)
journal contribution
posted on 2023-06-09, 19:16 authored by Amber John, Sarah-Naomi James, Jennifer Rusted, Marcus Richards, Darya GaysinaDarya Gaysina
Background: Little is known about the link between affective symptoms and cognitive function across the life course. This study aims to investigate whether affective symptoms in adolescence and adulthood predict trajectories of cognitive function from middle to late adulthood. Methods: Data from the MRC National Survey of Health and Development (NSHD), a cohort of 5362 individuals born in mainland UK in 1946, were utilised. Linear mixed models were used to model cognitive trajectories (memory and processing speed) over a three decade period (from 43 to 69) and to test effects of affective symptoms in adolescence (ages 13-15) and adulthood (ages 36 and 43) on baseline cognitive function (age 43) and decline in cognitive function (from 43 to 69). Models were adjusted for sex, childhood cognition, childhood socioeconomic position, and education. Results: A quadratic model best fitted memory and processing speed data. Models revealed that adolescent affective symptoms were associated with lower memory (b=-1.11, SE=0.53, p=.04) and processing speed (b=-18.17, SE=7.53, p=.02) at baseline, but not with rates of decline over time from 43 to 69. There were no significant associations between adult affective symptoms and cognitive trajectories. Limitations: Missing data is a potential limitation of this study. This was dealt with using maximum likelihood estimation and multiple imputation. Conclusions: Findings suggest that adolescent, but not adult, affective symptoms are important predictors of cognitive function in midlife, but not rate of cognitive decline. This highlights the importance of early intervention to manage mental health in adolescence to protect later cognitive function.


Publication status

  • Published

File Version

  • Accepted version


Journal of Affective Disorders





Department affiliated with

  • Psychology Publications

Full text available

  • Yes

Peer reviewed?

  • Yes

Legacy Posted Date


First Open Access (FOA) Date


First Compliant Deposit (FCD) Date


Usage metrics

    University of Sussex (Publications)


    No categories selected