The effect of executive function on stress, depression, anxiety, and quality of life in multiple sclerosis

Lisa B. Grech, Litza A. Kiropoulos, Katherine M. Kirby, Ernest Butler, Mark Paine, Robert Hester

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


The experience of cognitive deficits and emotional dysfunction are prevalent in people with multiple sclerosis (PwMS), although research examining their interaction has provided inconsistent findings. The current study examined the ability of executive function to predict psychosocial adjustment in PwMS. One hundred and seven PwMS underwent cognitive assessment and completed measures of stress, depression, anxiety, and quality of life (QoL). There was limited support for a relationship. There was no relationship between objective cognitive tasks and state or trait anxiety, mental health QoL, overall QoL, or stress frequency. The only relationship with depression was found when the Beck Depression Inventory Fast-Screen was used, with a task of planning when the timing element was removed. A measure of error rates on a task of cognitive flexibility predicted physical health QoL, and severity, but not frequency, of stress was predicted by a task of working memory. The results of this study highlight the need for further research into the relationship between cognitive deficits and psychosocial adjustment because of the conflicting findings between studies and call for a common measurement framework for future investigation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)549-562
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 28 May 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Anxiety
  • Cognition
  • Depression
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Quality of life
  • Stress

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