Research has shown that depression is associated with poorer cognitive performance and cognitive decline. Cognitive functions such as processing speed, language ability, memory, and executive functions have been found to be affected in older adults with depression. However, there is limited research focused on the effects of minimal or mild depressive symptoms in older adults who do not meet criteria for a depressive disorder. Older adults are more likely than any other population to endorse depressive symptoms in the absence of typical dysphoric symptoms that would qualify an individual for a depressive disorder. Understanding the effects of nondysphoric depressive symptoms on cognitive abilities is valuable in detecting and treating more cases of depression in older adults that may otherwise remain undiagnosed. The current study examines the effects of nondysphoric depressive symptoms on processing speed, language ability, memory, attention, and executive functions in healthy older adults. Results of structural regression modeling analyses indicate that the models in the current study of the effect of nondysphoric symptoms of cognitive abilities are not a good fit for the data and cannot be interpreted as significant results. However, trends in the data may suggest relationships similar to models including both dysphoric and nondysphoric depression and their effect on cognitive abilities. Limitations of the study, possible reasons for poor model fit, and future research directions are discussed.

LLU Discipline

Clinical Psychology




School of Behavioral Health

First Advisor

Arechiga, Adam L.

Second Advisor

Lee, Grace J.

Third Advisor

Morrell, Holly E. R.

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Level


Year Degree Awarded


Date (Title Page)




Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings

Depression in old age; Depression - Mental; Psychophysiology; Mood Disorders; Mild Cognitive Impairment; Cognition; Memory; Attention; Executive Function; Health Status Indicators; Psychiatric Status Rating Scales

Subject - Local

Cognitive Performance; Cognitive Decline; Mild Depressive Symptoms; Dysphoric Symptoms; Language ability; Processing Speed



Page Count


Digital Format


Digital Publisher

Loma Linda University Libraries

Usage Rights

This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.


Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Collection Website



Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives