The influence of cognitive reserve on psychosocial and neuropsychological functioning in bipolar disorder

Irene Forcada, Maria Mur, Ester Mora, Eduard Vieta, David Bartrés-Faz, Maria J. Portella

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80 Citations (Scopus)


© 2014 Elsevier B.V. and ECNP. Cognitive reserve (CR) refers to the hypothesized capacity of an adult brain to cope with brain pathology in order to minimize symptomatology. CR was initially investigated in dementia and acute brain damage, but it is being applied to other neuropsychiatric conditions. The present study aims at examining the fit of this concept to a sample of euthymic bipolar patients compared with healthy controls in order to investigate the role of CR in predicting psychosocial and cognitive outcome in bipolar disorder (BD). The sample included 101 subjects: 52 patients meeting DSM-IV-TR criteria for BD type I or II and 49 healthy controls (HC) matched for age and gender. They were all assessed with a cognitive battery tapping into executive and memory functioning. CR was obtained using three different proxies: education-occupation, leisure activities and premorbid IQ. Psychosocial functioning was evaluated by means of the Functioning Assessment Short Test (FAST). MANCOVAs were performed to determine differences in cognitive and functioning variables. Linear regression analyses were carried out to predict neuropsychological and psychosocial outcomes. Euthymic bipolar patients showed worse neuropsychological performance and psychosocial functioning than HC. The linear regression models revealed that CR was significantly predictive of FAST score (β=-0.47, p<0.0001), Executive Index (β=0.62, p<0.0001) and Visual Memory Index (β=0.44, p=0.0004), indicating that CR is a significant predictor of cognitive and psychosocial functioning in euthymic bipolar outpatients. Therefore, CR may contribute to functional outcome in BD and may be applied in research and clinical interventions to prevent cognitive and functional impairment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)214-222
JournalEuropean Neuropsychopharmacology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


  • Bipolar disorder
  • Cognitive reserve
  • Neuropsychology
  • Psychosocial functioning


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