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Anxious Depression and Neurocognition among Middle-Aged and Older Hispanic/Latino Adults: Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos (HCHS/SOL) Results

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The purpose of this study is to examine the association between verbal learning, fluency, and processing speed with anxious depression symptomatology (ADS) among diverse Hispanics. We hypothesized an inverse association of anxious depression with neurocognition among Hispanics of different heritage.


Data are from the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos. The sample included 9,311participants aged 45-74 years (mean: 56.5 years). A latent class analysis of items from the Center for Epidemiological Studies for Depression scale and the Spielberger Trait Anxiety Inventory was used to derive an anxious depression construct. Neurocognitive measures included scores on the Brief Spanish English Verbal Learning Test (B-SEVLT, learning and recall trials), Word Fluency (WF), Digit Symbol Substitution (DSS) test, and a Global Cognitive Score (GCS). We fit survey linear regression models to test the associations between anxious depression symptomatology and cognitive function. We tested for effect modification by sex, Hispanic heritage, and age groups.


Among men, 71.6% reported low, 23.3% moderate, and 5.1% high ADS. Among women, 55.1% reported low, 33.2% moderate, and 11.8% high ADS. After controlling for age, sex, sociodemographic characteristics, cardiovascular risk factors and disease, and antidepressant use, we found significant inverse associations between moderate and high anxious depression (ref:low) with B-SEVLT learning and recall, DSS and GCS. Moderate, but not high, anxious depression was inversely associated with WF. Associations were not modified by sex, Hispanic heritage, or age.


Increased anxious depression symptomatology is associated with decreased neurocognitive function among Hispanics. Longitudinal studies are needed to establish temporality and infer if negative emotional symptoms precede cognitive deficits.

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