Background: Long-term studies of survivors of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) have reported neuromuscular, quality of life, and neuropsychological impairments. This study aims to determine if development of ARDS was associated with neuromuscular weakness and depression at 6-month following hospital discharge in a population-based cohort of patients at high risk for ARDS. Methods: A validated lung injury prediction model prospectively identified adult patients at increased risk for ARDS admitted to Mayo Clinic between October 2008 and July 2011. Instruments for functional impairment [Overall Neuropathy Limitations Scale (ONLS)] and the presence of depressive symptoms (the Yale Single Question) were administered at baseline and at 6 months. Results: Of 107 patients enrolled in the study, 98 (92 %) underwent baseline assessment. Of these, 83 (85 %) were admitted to intensive care, 41 (42 %) developed ARDS, and 67 (68 %) completed assessment at 6 months. Patients with ARDS had longer intensive care and hospital length of stay (7.9 vs. 3.1 days, p = 0.005 and 19.5 vs. 10.6 days, p = 0.004, respectively). There was no difference in reported functional impairment at 6 months from baseline in the ARDS group compared to the non-ARDS group—mean ONLS Total Score 2.95 versus 2.07 p = 0.09 and 3.0 versus 2.1 p = 027, respectively. There was also no difference in the prevalence of depression at 6 months between the ARDS and non-ARDS group (21.9 vs. 30.7 % p = 0.41). Conclusions: In this single-center population-based cohort study, survivors of ARDS in the community had similar reported functional impairment and depression prevalence compared to an at-risk cohort that did not develop ARDS.