Neuropsychological correlates of subjective fatigue in non-demented older adults and the moderating effect of physical activity

Nikhil Banerjee, Mitchell Slugh, Sonya Kaur, Ni Sun-Suslow, Katalina F. McInerney, Xiaoyan Sun, Bonnie E. Levin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


This study examined the association between self-reported fatigue and neuropsychological performance in 167 middle-aged and older (age range: 50–91 years) adults without dementia. Participants completed the Fatigue Symptom Inventory, a comprehensive neuropsychological evaluation, and frailty assessment. Higher levels of fatigue were significantly associated with poorer attention/information processing, executive functioning, and psychomotor speed, even after controlling for depression, sleep quality, physical weakness, and other covariates. Participants endorsing moderate-severe fatigue faced higher odds (OR = 6.6, 95% CI = 1.1, 39.1) of exhibiting clinical attention/information processing impairments than those without. Moderation analyses showed that fatigue was related to select cognitive deficits among those reporting mean or lower levels of activity, but not high levels. These findings highlight fatigue as an important clinical marker of select cognitive deficits in non-demented older adults that is distinct from the common confounding conditions examined in this study. High levels of physical activity may buffer this relationship.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)254-269
Number of pages16
JournalAging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 3 2020


  • Fatigue
  • attention
  • cognition
  • older adults
  • physical activity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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