Objective: The present study provides the first published data documenting associations
between self-reported executive functioning competencies and retrospective accounts
of psychiatric medication usage.
Background: Executive functioning competencies in planning, organizational skills, inhibitory
control, selective attention, and optimal cognitive-set maintenance are essential to attain
and sustain optimal problem-solving and goal pursuit. Executive functioning deficits have
been observed with some regularity in the aftermath of major neurological or developmental
traumas through the use of performance-based tests. However, executive functioning assessment
research is being extended to self-report indices that measure perceived skill competencies
associated with psychiatric conditions such as depression and attention disorders.
Methods: A sample of national respondents (N = 595) was gathered through the use of Amazon's
Mechanical Turk. Participants responded to the Executive Functioning Index (EFI) and
a survey of psychiatric interventions.
Results: Researchers found around a quarter of this national sample have relied on more than
two of nine different psychiatric medications at some point during their lifetimes. Motivational
drive seemed to have the greatest relative risk estimates (RR = 3.58) for all of the criterion
variables. While gender differences in medication use were common, interactions with
high risk executive functioning groups were rarely found.
Conclusion: A longitudinal study examining the Executive Functioning-Symptom-
Medication nexuses would be the next step in the understanding of how executive functioning
deficits relates to psychiatric treatment including directionality and mediating factors. This
area of executive functioning assessment has the potential to aid in prevention and earlier
treatment to alleviate the intensity of symptoms that produce distress and impairment.