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Social Health and Change in Cognitive Capability among Older Adults: Findings from Four European Longitudinal Studies

Maddock, Jane; Gallo, Federico; Wolters, Frank J; Stafford, Jean; Marseglia, Anna; Dekhtyar, Serhiy; Lenart-Bugla, Marta; ... SHARED, Consortium; + view all (2023) Social Health and Change in Cognitive Capability among Older Adults: Findings from Four European Longitudinal Studies. Gerontology 10.1159/000531969. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

INTRODUCTION: In this study we examine whether social health markers measured at baseline are associated with differences in cognitive capability and in the rate of cognitive decline over an 11-to-18-year period among older adults and compare results across studies. METHODS: We applied an integrated data analysis approach to 16,858 participants (mean age 65 years; 56% female) from the National Survey for Health and Development (NSHD), the English Longitudinal Study of Aging (ELSA), the Swedish National Study on Aging and Care in Kungsholmen (SNAC-K), and the Rotterdam Study. We used multilevel models to examine social health in relation to cognitive capability and the rate of cognitive decline. RESULTS: Pooled estimates show distinct relationships between markers of social health and cognitive domains e.g., a large network size (≥6 people vs none) was associated with higher executive function (0.17 SD[95%CI:0.0, 0.34], I2=27%) but not with memory (0.08 SD[95%CI: -0.02, 0.18], I2=19%). We also observed pooled associations between being married or cohabiting, having a large network size and participating in social activities with slower decline in cognitive capability, however estimates were close to zero e.g., 0.01SD/year [95%CI: 0.01 to 0.02] I2=19% for marital status and executive function. There were clear study-specific differences: results for average processing speed were the most homogenous and results for average memory were the most heterogenous. CONCLUSION: Overall, markers of good social health have a positive association with cognitive capability. However, we found differential associations between specific markers of social health and cognitive domains and differences between studies. These findings highlight the importance of examining between study differences and considering context specificity of findings in developing and deploying any interventions.

Type: Article
Title: Social Health and Change in Cognitive Capability among Older Adults: Findings from Four European Longitudinal Studies
Location: Switzerland
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1159/000531969
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1159/000531969
Language: English
Additional information: © 2023 S. Karger AG. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0).
Keywords: Social support, Social network, Cognition, Longitudinal study, Cohort
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 Cardiovascular Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Cardiovascular Science > Population Science and Experimental Medicine
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Cardiovascular Science > Population Science and Experimental Medicine > MRC Unit for Lifelong Hlth and Ageing
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10174954
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