Neurocognitive predictors of treatment completion and daytime activities at follow-up in multiproblem young adults

M. E. Van der Sluys*, J. Zijlmans, A. Popma, P. H. Van der Laan, E. J.A. Scherder, R. Marhe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Previous research has shown an association between cognitive control deficits and problematic behavior such as antisocial behavior and substance use, but little is known about the predictive value of cognitive control for treatment outcome. The current study tests whether selected markers of baseline cognitive control predict (1) treatment completion of a day treatment program involving a combination of approaches for multiproblem young adults and (2) daytime activities a year after the start of treatment, over and above psychological, social, and criminal characteristics. We assessed individual, neurobiological, and neurobehavioral measures, including functional brain activity during an inhibition task and two electroencephalographic measures of error processing in 127 male multiproblem young adults (age 18–27 years). We performed two hierarchical regression models to test the predictive power of cognitive control for treatment completion and daytime activities at follow-up. The overall models did not significantly predict treatment completion or daytime activities at follow-up. However, activity in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) during response inhibition, years of regular alcohol use, internalizing problems, and ethnicity were all significant individual predictors of daytime activity at follow-up. In conclusion, cognitive control could not predict treatment completion or daytime activities a year after the start of treatment over and above individual characteristics. However, results indicate a direct association between brain activity during response inhibition and participation in daytime activities, such as work or school, after treatment. As adequate baseline inhibitory control is associated with a positive outcome at follow-up, this suggests interventions targeting cognitive control might result in better outcomes at follow-up.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1103-1121
Number of pages19
JournalCognitive, Affective and Behavioral Neuroscience
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
English language editing and review services were supplied by Dr. Dayana Calvo through the Research Editing and Consulting Program (RECP), a program of the INS International Liaison Committee. The data of the current study can be retrieved from the authors at reasonable request and with permission of VU University Medical Center. Due to restrictions, the data are not publicly available.

Funding Information:
This research project was funded by De Verre Bergen Foundation. De Verre Bergen Foundation is a venture philanthropy organization that aims to build a better Rotterdam through substantial investments in innovative, impactful social ventures. The financer was not involved in the design of the study nor in the drafting of the manuscript. Furthermore, the financer was not involved in the process of data collection, analysis, and interpretation. Contact information: Nanne Boonstra, Parklaan 22, 3016 BB Rotterdam, The Netherlands; Tel: 0031 10 209 2000; Email: Acknowledgements

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, The Author(s).

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