Eyatollah Jemeleddine
Asma Bouden
Soumeyya Halayem
Sami Othman
Karim Tabbane
Mohamed Halayem


Aim: This study aimed to evaluate basic performances on verbal memory in treatment-naïve children and adolescents with depression and in healthy control subjects.
Methods: 34 children and adolescents aged 6-16 years, suffering from a first major depressive disorder (DSM IV) and 34 controls matched on sex, age and cognitive ability were evaluated. Psychiatric diagnosis was assessed with the K-SADS-PL. The Child Depression Rating Scale (CDRS) was used to assess the severity of depression. Progressive matrices of Raven were used to evaluate intelligence. Tow different cognitive tasks were administered to assess semantic
and working memory: digit span test, and semantic and phonemic verbal fluency.
Results: A significant effect of diagnosis was found for digit span: patients showed lower performance on forward (p=0,015) and backward (p=0,002) digits. No difference was found between patients and controls on verbal fluency. The young age of the sample and the first depressive episode criteria may explain the absence of severe impairment of this type of semantic and working memory.
Conclusion: These results support the hypothesis that memory deficits in depressive disorders are partly the result of poor encoding caused by a deficit in attention.


Mood depressive disorder, child, adolescent, semantic memory



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