Relationship between mental health and everyday cognitive failures: role of internalizing and externalizing symptoms

<p></p><p>ABSTRACT Objective Cognitive failures are errors made in everyday life such as forgetting appointments, lack of words when talking, difficulties to memorize what is read, errors of orientation, among others. Internalizing and externalizing psychiatric symptoms may contribute to the occurrence of cognitive failures. The present study aims to evaluate how internalizing and externalizing symptoms contribute to the occurrence of everyday cognitive failures. Methods We evaluated 366 volunteers using the Cognitive Failure Questionnaire (CFQ), the Self-Reporting Questionnaire-20 (SRQ-20) as a measure of internalizing symptoms and the Adult Self-Report Scale (ASRS-18) as a measure of externalizing symptoms. We classified the participants based on the SRQ-20 and ASRS-18 cut-off scores to create four groups: controls, internalizing, externalizing, and mixed. We compared the groups by means of ANOVA and tested its associations with correlations. Results All scales showed strong correlations between each other (r > 0.500, p < 0.001). The comparison of the groups suggests that participants with clinical scores of internalizing and externalizing symptoms have more failures when compared to the control group (d = 0.86 and d = 1.00), but they do not present differences between themselves (d = 0.21). Participants of the mixed group presented more failures than the control group (d = 2.01), and the internalizing (d = 1.31) and externalizing (d = 1.05) groups. Conclusion Both internalizing and externalizing symptoms contribute to the occurrence of day-to-day cognitive failures. We also observed an additive effect of both symptoms.</p><p></p>