EXECUTIVE FUNCTIONING DIFFICULTIES AND DEPRESSION SYMPTOMS: MULTIDIMENSIONAL ASSESSMENT, INCREMENTAL VALIDITY, AND PROSPECTIVE ASSOCIATIONS
Greg FELDMAN1*, Laura E. KNOUSE2, Anna ROBINSON1
1 SimmonsCollege, Boston, USA
2 University of Richmond, Richmond, USA
Prior research has demonstrated a link between deficits in executive functioning (EF) and depression symptoms in both clinical and non-clinical samples. However, questions remain about the unique contribution of EF deficits as a construct in the prediction of depression symptoms as well as whether they predict depression symptoms prospectively. The present study examined associations of self-reported EF deficits with depression symptoms in two samples of college students. EF deficits were associated with depression symptoms above and beyond other widely-studied individual differences including Big Five traits, BIS/BAS temperaments, and anxiety symptoms. EF deficits (especially deficits in self-organization and emotion regulation) prospectively predicted depression symptoms among those with initially low depression symptoms. Results are discussed in terms of implications for assessment of EF in research screening and prevention efforts in college settings and in cognitive-behavioral treatment for depression.
Keywords: executive function, depression, Big Five traits, BIS/BAS, anxiety