Executive functioning of older adults with bipolar disorder

Elad Omer, Yoram Braw*, Revital Amiaz, Ramit Ravona-Springer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: Despite their impact on daily functioning, we have limited understanding of the executive functioning of older adults with bipolar disorder (OABD). Even less is known about the possible differences in the executive functioning of OABD and older adults with unipolar depression (OADEP). Methods: After excluding acutely ill patients, the executive functioning of OABD was compared to that of OADEP and healthy controls (n = 22, n = 20, n = 22; respectively). Cognitive insight, a sub-domain of executive functioning, was operationalized as the discrepancy between the participants' self-reported cognitive functioning and appraisals that were made by their care partners. To complement the cognitive profiling, the groups were compared in information processing speed, verbal memory, and visual-spatial memory. Results: OABD were impaired in several cognitive domains compared to healthy controls, most prominently in executive functioning and memory. OABD had poorer executive functioning and visual-spatial memory than OADEP. The findings also tentatively point toward intact cognitive insight among OABD, while OADEP seem to have a heightened level of awareness of their cognitive impairment. Conclusions: OABD have a unique profile of cognitive impairment compared to OADEP. It is characterized by a more severe cognitive impairment, accompanied by relatively intact cognitive insight. The findings may help clarify the cognitive profile of OABD and assist in the development of cognitive rehabilitation programs tailored to their needs. They should, however, be considered preliminary and await further research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)106-115
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2021


  • bipolar disorder
  • cognition
  • depression
  • executive functions
  • older adults


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