Paper alert: Self-reported cognitive difficulties

Posted on: 13 januari 2022

We recently published a new paper which was quit some work (first author Annabeth Groenman) titled  “Subjective cognition in adults with common psychiatric classifications; a systematic review“.

Our aim was to assess whether instruments developed to measure subjective cognitive complaints (SCCs) in the field of neurology and aging can reliably be used in people with a diagnosis of ADHD, autism, mood disorders, or schizophrenia. We first identified the most commonly used instruments and next we determined what where the relevant studies. In total, 35 studies with varying study quality were included. SCCs are most commonly studied in ADHD and mood disorders, but are also used in all other groups of people with one of the aforementioned diagnosis. SCCs show inconsistent and low associations to objective cognition across diagnoses, but higher and consistent relations are found with behavioral outcomes. SCCs are not qualitatively different for ADHD compared to one of the other aforementioned diagnostic classifications, and should thus not be seen as analogous to well validated measures of objective cognition. However, SCCs do reflect suffering, behavioral difficulties and problems experienced by those with psychiatric problems in daily life.

Now you might ask yourself: Why is this relevant for the type of research d’Arc does? It is relevant as we often observe in older autistic adults that they report cognitive challenges themselves while they do perform mostly okay on a wide range of tasks. So there is a discrepancy between what people experience themselves and how they perform (see for example the paper by Lever and the paper by Torenvliet). With this paper we show that this is a) not unique for people with an autism diagnosis and b) that it is relevant to use different measures to figure out how cognition might change when becoming old(er).