O efeito moderador da reserva cognitiva na associação negativa entre depressão e cognição

Translated title of the thesis: The moderating effect of cognitive reserve in the negative association between depression and cognition
  • Inês Filipa Alves Pereira (Student)

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Theoretical Background: Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) is a psychiatric disorder whose clinical manifestations are evidenced at emotional, cognitive, and functional levels, being considered by the World Health Organization (WHO) as the leading cause of disability worldwide. However, the cognitive manifestations among subjects with MDD, most frequently in attention, executive functions, and memory, do not seem to be homogeneous, with patients with more severe alterations than others. One of the possible explanations for the heterogeneity found between studies may be the Cognitive Reserve (CR), a concept that suggests that cognitive stimulation through outlife, through different types of activities, outcomes in a greater capacity of the brain to deal with the damage resulting from a pathology. Thus, this study aims to investigate the influence of CR, measured by the Cognitive Reserve Index questionnaire (CRIq), on the cognitive performance of subjects with MDD, compared to a control group through neuropsychological tests.Method: Fourteen subjects of both sexes, aged between 51 and 67 years and with an education between 4 and 22 years, with a clinical diagnosis of MDD, were recruited through a convenience sampling. Twelve subjects with no previous history of psychiatric or neurological illnesses, aged between 50 and 69 years, with an education between 4 and 22 years, were also recruited by convenience. We applied the MoCA, the WAIS-III Vocabulary test, the WMS-III Logical Memory I and II, Word Pairs I and II, and Letter and Number Sequence (SLN), the Trail Making Test part A and part B (TMT A and B),and the Phonemic Verbal Fluency test for neuropsychological assessment.Results: Significant differences were found in performance between the groups in Logical Memory II and Phonemic Verbal Fluency. In the Clinical Group, significant correlations were observed between total CR and performance in TMT A, TMT B-A,VSLN and Phonemic Verbal Fluency. The Free-Time CRI showed significant correlations with the same tests as the Total CRI; the School CRI showed significant correlations with all tests and the Work CRI only showed a significant correlation with the SLN. In the Control Group, significant correlations were only observed between the CRI-School and Logical Memory II, Word Pairs II and the SLN; and the CRI-Free Time with the TMT A.Conclusions: CR seems to play a relevant role in maintaining cognitive functioning in MDD, although factors such as schooling, but especially free-time activities seem to have a greater weight than factors such as occupation. The results suggest that CR may act as a compensatory mechanism for cognition in subjects with MDD, especially at the executive functioning
Date of Award10 Dec 2021
Original languagePortuguese
Awarding Institution
  • Universidade Católica Portuguesa
SupervisorMaria Vânia Silva Nunes (Supervisor) & Filipa Ribeiro (Co-Supervisor)


  • CRIq
  • Major Depressive Disorder
  • Cognitive reserve


  • Mestrado em Neuropsicologia

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