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Title: The relationship between anxiety and performance on tests of working memory and divided attention in older adults
Author: Cundy, Paul
ISNI:       0000 0004 2741 9151
Awarding Body: University of Essex
Current Institution: University of Essex
Date of Award: 2012
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Clinical experience suggests that it is common for older adults to experience anxiety when undergoing assessment at memory clinic, and that this anxiety may impair performance during neuropsychological testing. The aim of this study was to understand more about this phenomenon. There is a good evidence base which offers theoretical models of how such a relationship between anxiety and cognitive performance may occur. However, empirical evidence is limited, particularly for this population. A cross sectional study was designed to examine the relationship between anxiety and cognitive performance in this specific clinical context. Eighty-nine participants were recruited to the study from patients referred to memory clinics. They each completed two measures of anxiety in addition to their routine neuropsychological assessment. Data from each assessment were also collected. Correlational analyses including multiple regression were used to investigate the relationship between anxiety and performance on measures of divided attention and working memory. The findings did not replicate results from previous research. No relationship was found between any form of anxiety and performance on the neuropsychological tests investigated. Likewise, there was no relationship between anxiety and cognitive status. No effects were found for age. However, depression was not controlled for, which is one of the limitations of this research. Other limitations are also discussed, such as generalisability of the findings which are limited by the non- normal distribution of data. The relationships between anxiety and cognitive performance have important clinical implications which are explored.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available