Faculty Proceedings, Presentations, Speeches and Lectures

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2019-02-20 - 2019-02-23

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Objective: To see if there are differences in executive functions between those diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) and those with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD).
Participants and Methods: The data were chosen from a de-identified database at a neuropsychological clinic in South Florida. The sample used was adults diagnosed with MDD (n=75) and GAD (n=71) and who had taken the Halstead Category Test, Trail Making Test, Stroop Test, and the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test. Age (M=32.97, SD=11.75), gender (56.7% female), and race (52.7% White) did not differ between groups. IQ did not differ but education did (MDD=13.41 years, SD=2.45; GAD=15.11 years, SD=2.40), so it was ran as a covariate in the analyses. Six ANCOVAs were run separately with diagnosis being held as the fixed factor and executive function test scores held as dependent variables.
Results: The MDD group only performed worse on the Category Test than the GAD group ([1,132]=4.022, p< .05). Even though both WCST scores used were significantly different between the two groups, both analyses failed Levene’s test of Equality of Error Variances, so the data were not interpreted.
Conclusions: Due to previous findings that those diagnosed with MDD perform worse on tests of executive function than normal controls (Veiel, 1997), this study wanted to compare executive function performance between those diagnosed with MDD and those with another common psychological disorder. The fact that these two groups only differed on the Category Test shows that there may not be much of a difference in executive function deficits between those with MDD and GAD. That being said, not being able to interpret the scores on the WCST test due to a lack of homogeneity of variance indicates that a larger sample size is needed to compare these two types of patients, as significant differences may be found. The results of this specific study, however, could mean that the Category Test could be used in assisting the diagnosis of a MDD patient.

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