CBT Improves Mild Cognitive Impairment

Marios Constantinou, University of Nicosia, Nicosia, Cyprus


To follow up on earlier reports that CBT could improve cognitive and psychological functioning in adults diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment (MCI).

Participants and Methods:

Sixty-Eight Adults (28 women) between the ages of 50 and 60 diagnosed by neurologists or psychiatrists with MCI were included in the study. All were consecutive clients and were selected for the sample if they had no other neurological or psychological disorders diagnosed and had no other serious medical diagnosis. The sample comprised of adults who were actively working still in their long term jobs (28 private office work, 13 education, 21 public sector officers, 6 medical professions). Their average FSIQ was 104.34 (SD = 2.13), range 96 to 117.  All participants followed 6 sessions of CBT (thought modification, relaxation techniques, recording thoughts and actions). None of them dropped out of the study. The CBT was offered by 4 licensed clinical psychologists with at least 10 years of experience in CBT. All participants were assessed with BDI-II, STAI-II, Quality of Life Questionaire, RAVLT, FAS, WAIS-IV (GR), & MCI Screen. The assessment took place a week after diagnosis (pre-test) of MCI and a week following the end of CBT (post-test). All participantes received brief interviews before and after CBT, as well. 


Significant improvements were noted in the group in the quality of life, STAI-II scores, MCI Screen, and Working Memory and Processing Speed on WAIS-IV.  Participants reported clinical improvements, as well in the interviews and their outlook on life in general, their mental and cognitive health improved. There were no effects related to gender, type of work, or age.


 In this larger study it appears that psychotherapy indeed is a way to imrove neuropsychological and psychological functioning in individuals with MCI. However, a long term longidutinal study would be needed to show if longer term CBT could actually reduce the risk for later more serious cognitive impairments or even dementias.  However, improving the quality of life and cognitive impairment in individuals with MCI is still very important for individuals.

Category: MCI (Mild Cognitive Impairment)

Keyword 1: cognitive functioning