Cognitive Symptoms of Post-COVID-19 Condition and Daily Functioning

Abhishek Jaywant, Faith M. Gunning, Lauren E. Oberlin, Mauricio Santillana, Katherine Ognyanova, James N. Druckman, Matthew A. Baum, David Lazer, Roy H. Perlis*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


IMPORTANCE The frequent occurrence of cognitive symptoms in post-COVID-19 condition has been described, but the nature of these symptoms and their demographic and functional factors are not well characterized in generalizable populations. OBJECTIVE To investigate the prevalence of self-reported cognitive symptoms in post-COVID-19 condition, in comparison with individuals with prior acute SARS-CoV-2 infection who did not develop post-COVID-19 condition, and their association with other individual features, including depressive symptoms and functional status. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS Two waves of a 50-state nonprobability population-based internet survey conducted between December 22, 2022, and May 5, 2023. Participants included survey respondents aged 18 years and older. EXPOSURE Post-COVID-19 condition, defined as self-report of symptoms attributed to COVID-19 beyond 2 months after the initial month of illness. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES Seven items from the Neuro-QoL cognition battery assessing the frequency of cognitive symptoms in the past week and patient Health Questionnaire-9. RESULTS The 14 767 individuals reporting test-confirmed COVID-19 illness at least 2 months before the survey had a mean (SD) age of 44.6 (16.3) years; 568 (3.8%) were Asian, 1484 (10.0%) were Black, 1408 (9.5%) were Hispanic, and 10 811 (73.2%) were White. A total of 10 037 respondents (68.0%) were women and 4730 (32.0%) were men. Of the 1683 individuals reporting post- COVID-19 condition, 955 (56.7%) reported at least 1 cognitive symptom experienced daily, compared with 3552 of 13 084 (27.1%) of those who did not report post-COVID-19 condition. More daily cognitive symptoms were associated with a greater likelihood of reporting at least moderate interference with functioning (unadjusted odds ratio [OR], 1.31 [95%CI, 1.25-1.36]; adjusted [AOR], 1.30 [95%CI, 1.25-1.36]), lesser likelihood of full-time employment (unadjusted OR, 0.95 [95%CI, 0.91-0.99]; AOR, 0.92 [95%CI, 0.88-0.96]) and greater severity of depressive symptoms (unadjusted coefficient, 1.40 [95%CI, 1.29-1.51]; adjusted coefficient 1.27 [95%CI, 1.17-1.38). After including depressive symptoms in regression models, associations were also found between cognitive symptoms and at least moderate interference with everyday functioning (AOR, 1.27 [95% CI, 1.21-1.33]) and between cognitive symptoms and lower odds of full-time employment (AOR, 0.92 [95%CI, 0.88-0.97]). CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE The findings of this survey study of US adults suggest that cognitive symptoms are common among individuals with post-COVID-19 condition and associated with greater self-reported functional impairment, lesser likelihood of full-time employment, and greater depressive symptom severity. Screening for and addressing cognitive symptoms is an important component of the public health response to post-COVID-19 condition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E2356098
JournalJAMA network open
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 14 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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