Cognitive functioning in the general population: Factor structure and association with mental disorders—The neuropsychological test battery of the mental health module of the German Health Interview and Examination Survey for Adults (DEGS1-MH)

Michael Wagner*, Steffen Wolfsgruber, Beate Gaertner, Luca Kleineidam, Amanda K. Buttery, Frank Jacobi, Wim Van der Elst, Jelle Jolles, Ulfert Hapke, Hans Ulrich Wittchen, Wolfgang Maier, Markus A. Busch

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

The objective of this study is to obtain population level data about cognitive functions and their association with mental disorders. We here report factor analytic and psychometric findings of a neuropsychological test battery and examine the association of current and past mental disorders with cognitive function in a large nationwide population-based sample of 18- to 79-year-old adults in Germany (n = 3,667) participating in the mental health module of the German Health Interview and Examination Survey for Adults 2008–2011. Confirmatory factor analysis confirmed verbal memory and executive function factors. Older age was strongly associated with lower verbal memory and executive function and with higher vocabulary scores. After adjustment for age, sex, and education, rather modest decrements were found for verbal memory (β = −.118, p =.002) and executive functions (β = −.191, p <.001) in participants with any current mental disorder (n = 442) compared to those without (n = 3,201). Small decrements in memory (β = −.064, p =.031) and executive function (β = −.111, p <.001) were found in participants with any mental disorder in the last 12 months but not in those with past (fully or partially remitted) mental disorders, compared to participants without a history of mental disorder. More fine-grained analyses of these data will investigate the complex interplay between cognition, health behaviors, and specific mental and somatic diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1594
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Methods in Psychiatric Research
Volume27
Issue number1
Early online date6 Nov 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2018

Funding

DEGS1 was funded primarily by the German Ministry of Health (Bundesministerium für Gesundheit [BMG]). Supplementary funding for DEGS1‐MH was provided by the Technische Universität Dresden (TUD) and by the Foundation for Mental Health (Stiftung Seelische Gesundheit) inaugurated by the German Association for Psychiatry, Psychotherapy, and Psychosomatics (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Psychiatrie und Psychotherapie, Psychosomatik und Nervenheilkunde [DGPPN]). The neuropsychological section was jointly developed and implemented by TUD (Frank Jacobi), Robert Koch Institute (RKI; Markus Busch), and the University of Bonn (Department of Psychiatry: Michael Wagner).

FundersFunder number
DGPPN
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Psychiatrie und Psychotherapie, Psychosomatik und Nervenheilkunde
German Association for Psychiatry
German Ministry of Health
Stiftung Seelische Gesundheit
Technische Universität Dresden
Bundesministerium für Gesundheit
Fonds Psychische Gezondheid

    Keywords

    • cognition
    • epidemiology
    • neuropsychology
    • psychometrics

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