Self-Report Cognitive Questionnaires Predict Work Improvement in Depression

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Successful red tick
Researchers studied the relationship between self-reported cognitive complaints and work functioning in employed patients with major depressive disorder treated with desvenlafaxine.

For employed patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) treated with desvenlafaxine, self-reported cognitive questionnaires can help monitor changes in cognitive functioning and predict improvement in work functioning outcomes, according to results published in Psychiatry Research.

The study included adults with MDD who received open-label treatment of flexibly dosed desvenlafaxine (50-100 mg/day). All participants were employed at the time of testing (paid employment with 15 hours/week minimum).

Participants completed subjective cognition (British Columbia Cognitive Complaints Inventory [BC-CCI]) and functioning scales (Sheehan Disability Scale [SDS], Lam Employment Absence and Productivity Scale [LEAPS], and Health and Work Performance Questionnaire [HPQ]) at baseline and after 8 weeks of treatment.

The researchers used multiple regression analyses to assess the relationship between subjective cognitive measures and work functioning scales.

After treatment with desvenlafaxine, participants had significant improvement in depression symptom severity (MADRS, Cohen d =2.95), perceived cognitive functioning (BC-CCI, Cohen d =1.24), and self-reported work functioning (HPQ, Cohen d =0.73, and LEAPS, Cohen d =0.86).

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After adjustment for depression severity, the researchers found predictive associations between the BC-CCI and both the SDS and LEAPS, but not with the HPQ.

“Based on these findings, clinicians may wish to use self-report cognitive questionnaires to assess the possible contribution of cognitive difficulties to functional disability,” the researchers wrote.


This study was funded by an investigator-initiated grant from Pfizer Canada. The sponsor had no role in the design, conduct, analysis or publication of the study. CTRN: NCT01468610.


Alonso-Prieto E, Rubino C, Lucey M, et al. Relationship between work functioning and self-reported cognitive complaints in patients with major depressive disorder treated with desvenlafaxine. Psychiatry Res. 2019;272:144-148.