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Trends in Psychiatry and Psychotherapy

Print version ISSN 2237-6089On-line version ISSN 2238-0019


JARROS, Rafaela Behs et al. Attention, memory, visuoconstructive, and executive task performance in adolescents with anxiety disorders: a case-control community study. Trends Psychiatry Psychother. [online]. 2017, vol.39, n.1, pp.5-11. ISSN 2238-0019.


The aim of the present study was to assess children and adolescents with mild and severe anxiety disorders for their performance in attention, verbal episodic memory, working memory, visuoconstructive skills, executive functions, and cognitive global functioning and conduct comparative analyses with the performance of children free from anxiety disorders.


Our sample comprised 68 children and adolescents aged 10 to 17 years (41 with current diagnoses of anxiety disorders and 27 controls) selected from a larger cross-sectional community sample of adolescents. Children and adolescents with anxiety disorders were categorized into two groups on the basis of anxiety severity (mild or severe). All participants underwent a neuropsychological assessment battery to evaluate attention, verbal episodic memory, working memory, visuoconstructive skills, and executive and cognitive functions.


No differences were found in any neuropsychological tests, with the single exception that the group with mild anxiety had better performance on the Digit Span backward test compared to subjects with severe anxiety and to controls (p = 0.041; η2 = 0.11).


Not only might anxiety disorders spare main cognitive functions during adolescence, they may even enhance certain working memory processes.

Keywords : Neuropsychological assessment; anxiety disorders; cognitive functions; adolescents.

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