Abstract

Objective: Both depression and anxiety have been linked to a variety of deficits in the adult population. Tests of executive functioning are commonly indicted within these populations. Verbal fluency represents one such executive functioning task. The current study sought to determine the linear relationship between ratings of depression and anxiety and outcomes in categorical and phonetic verbal fluency. Method: An archival data set was utilized for the current study. Participants (n = 36) were drawn from a mixed clinical sample. All participants completed the Beck Depression Inventory-2 (BDI-2), the Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI), and both Animal and Letter Fluencies. Results: Results demonstrated a significant correlation with anxiety but not depression. Specifically, ratings on the BAI demonstrate a significant, inverse relationship with letter fluency (r = −.405). BAI outcomes were not related to performance in categorical fluency. In addition, outcomes on the BDI-2 demonstrated no significant relationship with either letter or categorical fluency. Conclusion(s): Findings are interesting as they suggest a possible area in which anxiety, more so than depression, is related to neurocognitive weakness. Oftentimes, depression is associated with greater neurocognitive weakness, yet the current findings demonstrate that may not always be the case. The fact that letter fluency and not categorical fluency was related to levels of anxiety may speak to the frontal burden associated with anxiety.