Neurocognitive markers of suicidal ideation in patients with anxiety and mood disorders
Objective: This study aims at identifying associations between cognitive function and suicidal ideation in the sample of patients with anxiety and mood disorders (AMD). Methods: In sum, 186 (age = 39 ± 12.3 years; 142 [76.3%] females) patients with AMD were enrolled in the study. Assessment included evaluation of socio-demographic information, medication use, anxiety and depression symptoms. Cognitive tests included measures of psychomotor performance and incidental learning using the Digit Symbol Test. Trail Making Tests respectively measured perceptual speed, task-switching and executive control. Additionally, 21 patients completed tests from the Cambridge Automated Neuropsychological Test Battery measuring set shifting (Interdimensional/extradimensional set-shift), executive planning (Stockings of Cambridge), and decision making (Cambridge Gamble Task [CGT]). Results: Almost half (45.0%, n = 86) of the study sample patients had experienced suicidal ideations. In multivariable regression analysis, suicidal ideation was associated with a greater overall proportion of bet and risk taking on the CGT task (β = 0.726, p = .010 and β = 0.634, p = .019), when controlling for socio-demographic characteristics, medication use, anxiety and depression symptoms. Conclusions: Outpatients with AMD and suicidal ideation could be distinguished by the presence of cognitive deficits in the executive function domain, particularly in impulse-control and risk taking.