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Socioeconomic and Contextual Differentials in Memory Decline: A Cross-Country Investigation Between England and China

Cadar, Dorina; Brocklebank, Laura; Yan, Li; Zhao, Yaohui; Steptoe, Andrew; (2023) Socioeconomic and Contextual Differentials in Memory Decline: A Cross-Country Investigation Between England and China. The Journals of Gerontology: Series B 10.1093/geronb/gbac163. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

OBJECTIVES: Although cognitive functioning is strongly associated with biological changes in the brain during the aging process, very little is known about the role of sociocultural differentials between the western and eastern parts of the world. We examined the associations between individual socioeconomic markers (e.g., education, household wealth) and contextual levels characteristics (e.g., urbanicity) with memory performance and memory decline over up to 8 years of follow-up in England and China. METHODS: The analytical samples included participants aged 50+ from the English Longitudinal Study of Aging (n = 6,687) and the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study (n = 10,252). Mixed linear models were employed to examine the association between baseline individual socioeconomic markers (education, wealth) and contextual-level characteristics (urbanicity) on the change in memory over time. RESULTS: Our analyses showed that higher education and wealth were associated with better baseline memory in both England and China. Still, the impact of contextual-level characteristics such as urbanicity differed between the 2 countries. For English individuals, living in a rural area showed an advantage in memory, while the opposite pattern was observed in China. Memory decline appeared to be socioeconomically patterned by higher education, wealth, and urbanicity in China but not in England. DISCUSSION: Our findings highlight substantial socioeconomic and contextual inequity in memory performance in both England and China, as well as in the rate of memory decline primarily in China. Public health strategies for preventing memory decline should target the socioeconomic gaps at the individual and contextual levels to protect those particularly disadvantaged.

Type: Article
Title: Socioeconomic and Contextual Differentials in Memory Decline: A Cross-Country Investigation Between England and China
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1093/geronb/gbac163
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1093/geronb/gbac163
Language: English
Additional information: © The Author(s) 2023. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Gerontological Society of America. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Keywords: Longitudinal methods, Memory decline, Socioeconomic markers, Urbanicity
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Behavioural Science and Health
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10163420
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