Working memory heterogeneity from age 7 to 11 in children at familial high risk of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder– The Danish High Risk and Resilience Study

Anna Krogh Andreassen*, Rikke Lambek, Nicoline Hemager, Christina Bruun Knudsen, Lotte Veddum, Anders Helles Carlsen, Anette Faurskov Bundgaard, Anne Søndergaard, Julie Marie Brandt, Maja Gregersen, Mette Falkenberg Krantz, Birgitte Klee Burton, Jens Richardt Møllegaard Jepsen, Anne Amalie Elgaard Thorup, Merete Nordentoft, Ole Mors, Vibeke Fuglsang Bliksted, Aja Greve

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Background: Despite the genetic overlap between bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, working memory impairments are mainly found in children of parents with schizophrenia. However, working memory impairments are characterized by substantial heterogeneity, and it is unknown how this heterogeneity develops over time. We used a data-driven approach to assess working memory heterogeneity and longitudinal stability in children at familial high risk of schizophrenia (FHR-SZ) or bipolar disorder (FHR-BP). Methods: Based on the performances on four working memory tasks by 319 children (FHR-SZ, N = 202, FHR-BP, N = 118) measured at age 7 and 11, latent profile transition analysis was used to test for the presence of subgroups, and the stability of subgroup membership over time. Population-based controls (VIA 7, N = 200, VIA 11, N = 173) were included as a reference group. The working memory subgroups were compared based on caregiver- and teacher ratings of everyday working memory function, and dimensional psychopathology. Results: A model with three subgroups characterized by different levels of working memory function (an impaired subgroup, a mixed subgroup, and an above average subgroup) best fitted the data. The impaired subgroup had the highest ratings of everyday working memory impairments and psychopathology. Overall, 98 % (N = 314) stayed in the same subgroup from age 7 to 11. Conclusion: Persistent working memory impairments are present in a subset of children at FHR-SZ and FHR-BP throughout middle childhood. Attention should be given to these children, as working memory impairments influence daily life, and may serve as a vulnerability marker of transition to severe mental illness.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Volume332
Pages (from-to)318-326
Number of pages9
ISSN0165-0327
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2023

Keywords

  • Bipolar disorder
  • Familial high risk
  • Heterogeneity
  • Schizophrenia
  • Working memory
  • Humans
  • Attention
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Denmark/epidemiology
  • Bipolar Disorder/epidemiology
  • Memory, Short-Term
  • Child
  • Schizophrenia/genetics

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