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Title: Advantaged socioeconomic conditions in childhood are associated with higher cognitive functioning but stronger cognitive decline in older age
Authors : Aartsen, Marja J.
Cheval, Boris
Sieber, Stefan
Van der Linden, Bernadette W.
Gabriel, Rainer
Courvoisier, Delphine S.
Guessous, Idris
Burton-Jeangros, Claudine
Blane, David
Ihle, Andreas
Kliegel, Matthias
Cullati, Stéphane
Published in : Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Pages : 201807679
Publisher / Ed. Institution : National Academy of Sciences
Issue Date: 2019
License (according to publishing contract) : CC BY-NC-ND 4.0: Attribution - Non commercial - No derivatives 4.0 International
Type of review: Peer review (Publication)
Language : English
Subjects : Socioeconomic position; Cognition; Life course; Life span; Aging
Subject (DDC) : 155: Differential and developmental psychology
305: Social groups
Abstract: Cognitive aging is characterized by large heterogeneity, which may be due to variations in childhood socioeconomic conditions (CSC). Although there is substantial evidence for an effect of CSC on levels of cognitive functioning at older age, results on associations with cognitive decline are mixed. We examined by means of an accelerated longitudinal design the association between CSC and cognitive trajectories from 50 to 96 years. Cognition included two functions generally found to decline with aging: delayed recall and verbal fluency. Data are from six waves of the Survey of Health, Aging, and Retirement in Europe (SHARE), conducted between 2004 and 2015 (n = 24,066 at baseline; 56% female, age 50+). We found a consistent CSC pattern in levels of cognitive functioning in later life. Older people with disadvantaged CSC had lower levels of cognitive functioning than those with more advantaged CSC. We also find that decline is almost 1.6 times faster in the most advantaged group compared with the most disadvantaged group. The faster decline for people with more advantaged CSC becomes less pronounced when we additionally control for adulthood socioeconomic conditions and current levels of physical activity, depressive symptoms, and partner status. Our findings are in line with the latency, pathway, and cumulative model and lend support to theories of cognitive reserve, stating that neuronal loss can no longer be repaired in people with more cognitive reserve once the underlying pathology is substantial and speed of decline is accelerated.
Departement: Social Work
Organisational Unit: Institute of Diversity and Social Integration (IVGT)
Publication type: Article in scientific Journal
DOI : 10.1073/pnas.1807679116
ISSN: 0027-8424
Appears in Collections:Publikationen Soziale Arbeit

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