Memory differences by sex, but not by previous diagnosis of major depressive disorder

Erica A. Hymen, Julia A. Rao, Amy T. Peters, Lisanne M. Jenkins, Sara L. Weisenbach, Michelle T. Kassel, Laura B. Farah, Kristy A. Skerrett, Joshua T. Haywood, Kaley Angers, Bethany Pester, Amanda Baker, Jon Kar Zubieta, Kelly A. Ryan, Scott A. Langenecker*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Memory difficulties are consistently reported in Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). Nonetheless, it has not been thoroughly investigated as to whether these deficits persist during remission from MDD. A group of 32 healthy young adults with no history of a mood disorder (Mage = 20.8, SD = 2.1) and 62 remitted depressed young adults (Mage = 21.1, SD = 1.9) completed a neuropsychological battery. The test battery included two measures of nonverbal memory, two measures of verbal memory, and a measure of performance validity. The testing session was repeated three to six weeks later to determine performance stability. No differences were found between healthy controls and remitted depressed patients in either memory domain (all ps >.05) and improvement in performance was exhibited over time for both groups (p = 0.004). Potential practice effects are examined. We found a stronger performance for women than men (p = 0.003), particularly for the Semantic List Learning Task (SLLT) (p =.047). Verbal and nonverbal memory and effort may not be impacted in those who are in a remitted state of MDD, early in the course of the illness. Women demonstrated auditory memory superiority over men, similar to prior research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)134-142
Number of pages9
JournalApplied Neuropsychology:Adult
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 3 2020


  • Depression
  • memory
  • remitted
  • sex
  • young adult

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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