The role of cognitive flexibility in cognitive restructuring skill acquisition among older adults

C. Johnco, V. M. Wuthrich*, R. M. Rapee

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)
233 Downloads (Pure)


Cognitive flexibility is one aspect of executive functioning that encompasses the ability to produce diverse ideas, consider response alternatives, and modify behaviors to manage changing circumstances. These processes are likely to be important for implementing cognitive restructuring. The present study investigated the impact of cognitive flexibility on older adults' ability to learn cognitive restructuring. Neuropsychological measures of cognitive flexibility were administered to 40 normal community-dwelling older adult volunteers and their ability to implement cognitive restructuring was coded and analyzed. Results indicated that the majority of participants showed good cognitive restructuring skill acquisition with brief training. The multiple regression analysis suggested that those with poorer cognitive flexibility on neuropsychological testing demonstrated poorer quality cognitive restructuring. In particular, perseverative thinking styles appear to negatively impact the ability to learn cognitive restructuring. Further research is needed to clarify whether older adults with poor cognitive flexibility can improve their cognitive restructuring skills with repetition over treatment or whether alternative skills should be considered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)576-584
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Anxiety Disorders
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2013


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