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.
van der Sluys, M. E., Zijlmans, J., Popma, A., van der Laan, P. H., Scherder, E. J. A., & Marhe, R. (2020). Neurocognitive predictors of treatment completion and daytime activities at follow-up in multiproblem young adults. Cognitive, Affective and Behavioral Neuroscience. https://doi.org/10.3758/s13415-020-00822-4