Results of a recent study suggest a bidirectional relationship of anxiety and processing speed on verbal learning in multiple sclerosis (MS). Furthermore, anxiety has a significant impact upon cognition and should not be overlooked and therefore, interventions targeting anxiety may be able to improve cognition in MS. Participants (n=141) had a diagnosis of clinically definite MS and had participated in neuropsychological research projects at an MS center in Teaneck, NJ. Researchers found:
- Processing speed was a uniquely significant predictor of verbal learning (β = .55, ΔR2 = .27).
- Anxiety was also a uniquely significant predictor of verbal learning (β = −.34, ΔR2 = .11).
- 2 separate mediation analyses were conducted to determine the relationship between processing speed, verbal learning, and anxiety.
- There was a significant indirect effect of anxiety on verbal learning through processing speed, ab = −0.31.
- There was also a significant indirect effect of processing speed on verbal learning through anxiety, ab = −0.05.
Vissicchio NA, Altaras C, Parker A, et al. The relationship between anxiety and cognition in multiple sclerosis: Implications for treatment. [Published online ahead of print September 27, 2018]. Int J MS Care. doi:10.7224/1537-2073.2018-027.