The relationship between cognitive and social functioning in older patients with bipolar disorder

Melis Orhan, Nicole Korten, Max Stek, Hannie Comijs, Sigfried Schouws, Annemiek Dols

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: Patients with bipolar disorder (BD) show specific cognitive impairments, especially in the domains of attention, executive functioning and memory. Social and occupational problems seem to exist in 30–60% of BD patients. This study analysed the relationship between cognitive and social functioning in older age BD (OABD) patients. Methods: This study included 63 OABD patients (aged > 60). Cognitive functioning was measured by an extensive neuropsychological assessment including global cognitive functioning, attention, learning and memory, executive functioning and verbal fluency. Social functioning, was obtained by clinical interview, including global social functioning, meaningful contacts and social participation. Linear regression analyses were conducted between cognitive performance and social functioning and the role of depression severity and disease duration was explored. Results: Global social functioning, number of meaningful contacts and social participation were not interrelated. Global cognitive functioning, learning and memory and executive functioning were positively associated with global social functioning. No associations were found between cognitive functioning and social participation or meaningful contacts. Depression severity and disease duration were no effect modifiers. Limitations: Limitations include the use of a sample with relatively low cognitive and social impairments and the use of a cross-sectional research design. Conclusions: Global social functioning judged by the clinician was found to be independent of social functioning defined by the number of social contacts and social participation as reported by the patient. Global social functioning was related to cognitive functioning. An integrative treatment intervention including cognitive training and addressing social functioning may improve daily functioning in OABD patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)177-182
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of affective disorders
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2018


  • Bipolar
  • Cognitive
  • Elderly
  • Impairment
  • Social

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