BACKGROUND: To date there are no validated tests in Italian to assess cognitive functions in Bipolar Disorder. Therefore, this study aimed to provide normative data for the Italian version of the Brief Assessment of Cognition in Affective Disorders (BAC-A), a battery targeting neuro- and affective-cognition in affective disorders.
METHODS: Data were collected from 228 healthy participants (age range: 18-67; mean age: 34.68 ± 12.15 years) across eight recruiting sites. The influence of age, sex and education was measured and adjusted for using multivariate stepwise regression models. Normative values were established by means of the Equivalent Score approach.
RESULTS: Most of the BAC-A subtests showed patterns of association with age (inversely associated with overall cognitive performance), education (positively associated with Verbal Memory and Fluency, Digit Sequencing and Affective Processing subtests) and sex (females performed better than males in the Affective Interference Test but worse in the Emotion Inhibition Task, Digit Sequencing and Tower of London).
LIMITATIONS: The sample size was not sufficiently large for developing stratified norms, using 10-years ranges. Moreover, the participants included in the study were, on average, highly educated.
CONCLUSIONS: The normative data of the BAC-A provided in this study can serve as a cognitive functioning reference for Italian-speaking participants within the age range of the study sample. This can increase the applicability of this test in both clinical and research settings. The reliability and validity of the Italian BAC-A need to be further investigated.