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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Psychol. | doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00004

The relationship of anxiety, stress and depressive symptoms with working memory per-formance in a large non-depressed sample

  • 1Åbo Akademi University, Finland
  • 2Faculty of Arts, Psychology and Theology (FHPT), Åbo Akademi University, Finland
  • 3Department of Psychology, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Turku, Finland
  • 4Center for Multilingualism in Society across the Lifespan, Faculty of Humanities, University of Oslo, Norway
  • 5Turku Brain and Mind Center, University of Turku, Finland

Clinical anxiety and depression as well as acute stress caused by major life events have well-documented detrimental effects on cognitive processes, such as working memory (WM). However, less is known about the relationships of state anxiety, depressive symptoms or everyday stress with WM performance in non-clinical populations. We investigated the associations between these three factors and three WM composites (verbal WM, visuospatial WM, and n-back updating performance) in a large online sample of non-depressed U.S. American adults. WM performance was negatively associated with anxiety and less so with stress, but not with subclinical depressive symptoms. The implications of WM sensitivity to stress and anxiety are discussed.

Keywords: Anxiety, stress, working memory, depressive symptoms, Healthy adults

Received: 01 Aug 2018; Accepted: 03 Jan 2019.

Edited by:

Thomas Kleinsorge, Leibniz Research Centre for Working Environment and Human Factors (IfADo), Germany

Reviewed by:

Daniel E. Gustavson, University of California, San Diego, United States
Wladislaw Rivkin, Aston Business School, United Kingdom  

Copyright: © 2019 Lukasik, Waris, Soveri, Lehtonen and Laine. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Prof. Matti Laine, Faculty of Arts, Psychology and Theology (FHPT), Åbo Akademi University, Turku, Finland, matlaine@abo.fi