Neuropsychological functioning is associated with multitasking in older HIV+ adults.

Type: Poster
Title: Neuropsychological functioning is associated with multitasking in older HIV+ adults.
Authors: Moore D, Fazeli P, Casaletto K, Letendre S, Scott J, Woods S, Jeste D, Grant I, and the HNRP Group
Year: 2015
Publication: International Neuropsychological Society Annual Meeting

Background: The number of older adults with HIV disease (HIV+) is rising, and these older HIV+ adults are at increased risk for neurocognitive and everyday functioning deficits. Multitasking is an important aspect of everyday functioning that has not been examined in older HIV+ persons.

Methods: One hundred older (≥50 years) HIV+ adults completed a comprehensive, seven-domain, neuropsychological (NP) battery. The multitasking test (MT) is a performance-based measure that asks participants to complete, concurrently, several everyday tasks (i.e., medication management, financial management, cooking, telephone communication) (Scott et al., 2011). Participants are asked to prioritize the financial management and cooking portions of the task, and also to complete as many of the tasks as possible within a given time limit.

Results: Better NP test performance (global T) was associated with better overall MT performance (rho=0.34; p<0.001), whereas HIV disease severity and depressive symptoms were not (ps>.10). Average NP T-scores in the domains of verbal fluency, executive functions, speed of information processing, learning, working memory, and motor skills (but not delayed recall) were significantly correlated with total MT scores (all p’s<0.05). Interestingly, persons who were currently employed scored better on the financial management portion of the MT (Cohen d = 0.45; p=0.04).

Conclusions: Consistent with findings among younger HIV+ persons, neuropsychological performance is strongly associated with a laboratory-based test of the ability to multitask activities of daily living. The association does not seem to be domain specific; that is, performance on the MT was associated with almost all neuropsychological domains (delayed recall being the exception). The association of MT performance with current employment status supports the ecological validity and broader utility of the multitasking test for older HIV+ persons.