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Describing cognitive function and psychosocial outcomes of COVID-19 survivors: A cross-sectional analysis



Neurological and psychological symptoms are increasingly realized in the post-acute phase of COVID-19.


To examine and characterize cognitive and related psychosocial symptoms in adults (21-75 years) who tested positive for or were treated as positive for COVID-19.


In this cross-sectional study, data collection included a cognitive testing battery (Trails B; Digit Symbol; Stroop; Immediate and Delayed Verbal Learning) and surveys (demographic/clinical history; self-reported cognitive functioning depressive symptoms, fatigue, anxiety, sleep disturbance, social role performance, and stress). Results were compared with published norms, rates of deficits (more than 1 standard deviation (SD) from the norm) were described, and correlations were explored.


We enrolled 52 participants (mean age 37.33 years; 78.85% female) who were, on average, 4 months post illness. The majority had a history of mild or moderate COVID-19 severity. Forty percent of participants demonstrated scores that were 1 SD or more below the population norm on one or more of the cognitive tests. A subset had greater anxiety (21.15%), depressive symptoms (23.07%), and sleep disturbance (19.23%) than population norms. Age differences were identified in Stroop, Digit Symbol, and Trails B scores by quartile (p < .01), with worse performance in those 28-33 years old.


Cognitive dysfunction and psychological symptoms may be present in the weeks or months after COVID-19 diagnosis, even in those with mild to moderate illness severity.

Implications for practice

Clinicians need to be aware and educate patients about the potential late/long-term cognitive and psychological effects of COVID-19, even in mild to moderate disease.

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