Late-life depression symptom dimensions and cognitive functioning in the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam (LASA)

Anamaria Brailean, Marja Aartsen, Hannie Comijs, Martin James Prince, Matthew Prina, Aartjan Beekman, Martijn Huisman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)
189 Downloads (Pure)


Depression often co-occurs in late-life in the context of declining cognitive functions, but it is not clear whether specific depression symptom dimensions are differentially associated with cognitive abilities.

The study sample comprised 3107 community-dwelling older adults from the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam (LASA). We applied a Multiple Indicators Multiple Causes (MIMIC) model to examine the association between cognitive abilities and latent dimensions of the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D), while accounting for differential item functioning (DIF) due to age, gender and cognitive function levels.

A factor structure consisting of somatic symptoms, positive affect, depressed affect, and interpersonal difficulties fitted the data well. Higher levels of inductive reasoning were significantly associated with lower levels of depressed affect and somatic symptoms, whereas faster processing speed was significantly associated with lower levels of somatic symptoms. DIF due to age and gender was found, but the magnitude of the effects was small and did not alter substantive conclusions.

Due to the cross-sectional context of this investigation, the direction of influence between depression symptom levels and cognitive function levels cannot be established. Furthermore, findings are relevant to non-clinical populations, and they do not clarify whether certain DIF effects may be found only at high or low levels of depression.

Our findings suggest differential associations between late-life depression dimensions and cognitive abilities in old age, and point towards potential etiological mechanisms that may underline these associations. These findings carry implications for the prognosis of cognitive outcomes in depressed older adults.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-178
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Early online date19 May 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2016


  • late-life depression
  • depression symptom dimensions
  • cognitive aging
  • cognitive abilities
  • differential item functioning


Dive into the research topics of 'Late-life depression symptom dimensions and cognitive functioning in the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam (LASA)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this