Aging has effects on many features of normal functioning, particularly in the domains of cognition and adaptive life skills. Several psychiatric conditions also affect cognition and adaptive functioning; most of the research on these topics has been performed on patients early in their lives. The amount of research on older patients is smaller than in younger patients, but there is a developing research literature in several aspects of aging and psychopathology. This chapter reviews aging effects on two major psychiatric conditions: schizophrenia and depression. We examine changes in symptoms and cognitive functioning with aging and the functional implications of the development or worsening of cognitive performance. We also identify risk factors for cognitive changes within each condition and examine the implication of early- versus late-life onset. We believe that cognitive changes with aging are potentially predictable, possibly sharing a mechanism with normal aging-related changes and certainly laden with prognostic implications. We see cognitive changes as a possible commonality across persistent psychiatric disorders as well as healthy aging in late life.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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