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Neurocognitive measures of psychiatric patients during acute illness

Luskin, Andrew (2018) Neurocognitive measures of psychiatric patients during acute illness. Master Essay, University of Pittsburgh.

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Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States. Thus, identifying objective measures that predict suicidal behaviors is important. While examining decision-making, executive function, and learning and memory, previous research has found impairment in populations at risk for suicidal behavior. However, decision-making in response to stress in a population at risk for suicidal behavior has not been explored. In this study, we examine these neurocognitive measures in a sample of young adult psychiatric inpatients at the time of psychiatric hospitalization.
The sample consists of psychiatric inpatients (n=13) and healthy controls (n=8). Participants completed the Cups Gambling Task (CGT) under neutral and stressful conditions, wherein the stressor was high frequency white noise played randomly in 12 of 45 trials. Participants also completed four tasks from the CANTAB suite: Motor Screening (MOT), One Touch Stockings of Cambridge (OTS), Stop Signal Task (SST), and Spatial Working Memory (SWM). T-tests were performed to examine differences on all outcome variables, and mixed models were performed on CGT variables. Effect size (ES) was calculated using Cohen’s d for all comparisons.
Inpatients chose fewer correct options on CGT for both the neutral (d=0.609, t(19)=1.17) and stressful (d=0.614, t(19)=1.37) conditions compared to controls. There were no differences in the total reward in the neutral condition (d=0.041, t(19)=0.091), however inpatients earned more in the stressful condition (d=0.458, t(19)=1.02) compared to controls. Mixed models showed that this increase was not significant with low ES (d=0.164). However, reaction time decreased between the neutral and stressful conditions (d=0.988 β=-391.84). Inpatient and control groups showed no difference in MOT ‘mean error’ (d=0.008, t(19)=0.986). Inpatients had greater ‘mean choices to correct’ (d=1.39, t(19)=3.71) compared to controls. There were no differences in SST ‘Delay 50%’ between patients and controls (d=0.199, t(19)=0.368). On SWM, inpatients had a greater ‘strategy score’ (d=1.32, t(19)=2.95) compared to controls.
Public Health Importance: Psychiatric inpatients at the time of acute illness showed poorer performance on behavioral tasks indicating decision making, spatial planning, and spatial working memory. Both inpatients and controls showed more impulsivity in decision-making under stressful conditions. Future studies are needed to examine these behavioral measures in a larger sample.


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Item Type: Other Thesis, Dissertation, or Long Paper (Master Essay)
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Luskin, Andrewaml168@pitt.eduaml168
ContributionContributors NameEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairRichardson, Galegar@pitt.edugarUNSPECIFIED
Committee Co-ChairMelhem, Nadinemelhnm@upmc.edunam19UNSPECIFIED
Committee MemberColvin, Aliciacolvina@edc.pitt.educolvinaUNSPECIFIED
Date: 10 December 2018
Date Type: Submission
Number of Pages: 27
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Epidemiology
Degree: MPH - Master of Public Health
Thesis Type: Master Essay
Refereed: Yes
Date Deposited: 28 Sep 2019 22:23
Last Modified: 28 Sep 2019 22:23


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