The neuropsychological sequelae of Long-COVID in a New Zealand sample : a thesis submitted in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Sciences (by thesis) in Psychology at Massey University, by distance, New Zealand

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There is an increasing concern globally that COVID-19 infections may result in lasting neuropsychological sequelae. This Case-Control study aimed to explore whether the neuropsychological sequelae associated with long-COVID internationally were also evident in Aotearoa New Zealand. The adult sample was recruited through social media, with median age of 41 to 50. While a total of 114 participants were recruited, the study groups consisted of 31 participants with long-COVID (Cases), and 31 demographically matched healthy participants (Controls). The neuropsychological sequelae of long-COVID were divided into three constituent components; symptomology, impacts on quality of life, and changes in cognitive performance. These were all assessed with computerised versions of the following measures. Symptomology was assessed with the De-Paul Symptom Questionnaire-Short Form, and a newly authored long-COVID symptom questionnaire based on the work of Davis et al., (2021). Quality of Life (QoL) was measured with the NeuroQoL Cognition-Short Form and a newly authored long-COVID QoL measure based on the work of Fontera et al., (2021). Cognitive performance was assessed with a Cognitive Battery, comprising of Immediate and Delayed Word Recall, Digit Span, the Stroop task, and the Trail Making A and B tasks. Data was analysed using independent samples t-tests. Results showed that Cases had significantly more severe and frequent symptomology, poorer quality of life, and slower reaction times than Controls. Results also showed insignificant differences between Cases and Controls cognitive performance on the Delayed Word Recall, Digit Span and Trail Making tasks. The study’s small sample size resulting from case-control matching may have impacted the significance of these findings. However, these findings do establish a precedent for further study on long-COVID’s neuropsychological sequelae in Aotearoa New Zealand and have important clinical implications for the neuropsychological assessment of long-COVID using symptomology questionnaires, QoL and Cognitive Batteries.