Doctorate in Clinical Psychology: Main Research Portfolio
: 1) What If I Fail? Unsuccessful Smoking Cessation Attempts and Symptoms of Depression and Anxiety: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis; 2) Remotely Possible: A Qualitative Evaluation of a Compassion Focused Therapy Group Adapted for Online Delivery; 3) Mild Cognitive Impairment, Depressive Symptoms, and Social Support: Investigating Relationships between Modifiable Risk Factors for Cognitive Decline and Dementia.

  • Amy Crabb

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Clinical Psychology (DClinPsy)


Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is associated with an increased risk of developing dementia. Understanding the interaction between MCI and other risk factors may provide a platform for early interventions that reduce the risk and severity of dementia, and associated financial and social burdens. Previous research has demonstrated relationships between (a) MCI and depressive symptoms, (b) depressive symptoms and social support, and (c) social support and MCI. These relationships were investigated using cross-sectional data from the Human Connectome Project in Aging (N = 536). Social support was measured via emotional support and instrumental support constructs. Furthermore, hippocampal volume acquired from T1-weighted MRI images was assessed as a neurobiological correlate of MCI. Multiple linear regression analyses and linear mixed model analyses were conducted in R. Individuals with greater depressive symptoms reported lower perceived emotional and instrumental social support. Adjusting for demographic confounds, there was no evidence for a relationship between MCI and depressive symptoms, or MCI and perceived social support, using either a psychometric measure or neuroimaging data. The relationship found between social support and depressive symptoms is important for individuals with MCI, even though no direct relationship with MCI was identified; alleviating depressive symptoms by providing increased social support may influence the trajectories of cognitive impairment. Limitations of the current study include the cross-sectional design, selection bias, and inability to differentiate between MCI subtypes. Areas for future research are discussed, including the roles of additional related factors such as apathy, sleep, and social engagement.
Date of Award22 Sept 2023
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorJennifer Allen (Supervisor), Gemma Taylor (Supervisor), Rachel Paskell (Supervisor), Anna Strudwick (Supervisor) & Tom Lancaster (Supervisor)

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