Influence of cognitive reserve on neuropsychological functioning in bipolar disorder: Findings from a 5-year longitudinal study

Kristin H. Hinrichs, Rebecca E. Easter, Kaley Angers, Bethany Pester, Zongshan Lai, David F. Marshall, Masoud Kamali, Melvin McInnis, Scott A. Langenecker, Kelly A. Ryan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Objectives: The present study examined the 5-year longitudinal course of cognitive functioning in a large sample of well-characterized patients with bipolar disorder (BP), compared to healthy controls (HCs), and the influence of cognitive reserve factors (e.g., education and IQ) on cognitive change over time. Methods: Participants included 159 individuals diagnosed with BP and 54 HCs recruited as part of a longitudinal naturalistic study of BP who had completed neuropsychological testing at the time of their enrollment and again 5 years later. Results: The overall relative rate of change did not differ between the BP and HC groups. In total, 46.5% of the BP group and 37% of the HC group showed evidence of decline on at least one measure over time. T-test analyses did not find differences between BP ‘decliners’ and ‘non-decliners’ in cognitive reserve variables. However, we found that higher baseline intellectual ability was associated with more stability in cognitive test scores over time for the BP group. Results of linear regression modeling revealed that lower verbal IQ and education were related to increased cognitive decline in specific domains in the BP group. Conclusions: This study has explored the influence of cognitive reserve on preservation of specific cognitive abilities over time in BP. The BP group did not demonstrate accelerated cognitive decline over 5 years compared to the HC group. Although the trajectory of cognitive change over time was similar between BP patients and HCs, higher overall intellectual ability may be a protective factor against cognitive decline, particularly for BP patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-59
Number of pages10
JournalBipolar Disorders
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017


  • bipolar disorder
  • clinical neuropsychology
  • cognitive reserve


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