A meta-analysis of executive dysfunctions in unipolar major depressive disorder without psychotic symptoms and their changes during antidepressant treatment

Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 04/20/2012

The authors revealed significant executive dysfunctions in patients with unipolar, non–psychotic major depressive disorder compared with healthy controls and an improvement of the Stroop performance during the course of treatment.


  • Meta–analytic methods were used to assess the severity of executive dysfunctions in unipolar, non–psychotic MDD as compared to healthy controls and to investigate their course during antidepressant treatment.


  • Fifteen studies comparing the executive functions of 375 patients with DSM–IV MDD and 481 healthy controls were analysed.
  • Furthermore, in three studies, including 122 patients with MDD, the Stroop test performance was examined before and after antidepressant treatment.
  • Patients with MDD performed 0.439 up to 1.18 (P < 0.0001) standard mean differences worse than healthy controls.
  • The Stroop performance improved during the course of treatment (P = 0.0001).

Print Article Summary Cat 2 CME Report