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Arch Clin Neuropsychol. 2013 Mar;28(2):169-79. doi: 10.1093/arclin/acs102. Epub 2012 Nov 28.

Executive functioning as a mediator of the relationship between premorbid verbal intelligence and health risk behaviors in a rural-dwelling cohort: a Project FRONTIER study.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX, USA.

Abstract

Limited research is available regarding the impact of neuropsychological functioning on health risk behaviors in rural-dwelling elderly populations. This cross-sectional study examined the relationships between estimated premorbid verbal IQ (AMNART), executive functioning impairment (EXIT25), and health risk behaviors including alcohol use (AUDIT), smoking, compliance with recommended cancer screenings, and obesity (BMI). The total sample included 456 English-speaking adults and older adults of non-Hispanic White and Hispanic origin seen as part of an ongoing study of rural cognitive aging, Project FRONTIER. Regression analyses revealed significant independent effects of AMNART and EXIT25 on most health risk behaviors, and supported the hypothesized mediating role of EXIT25 on the relationships between AMNART and smoking, cancer screenings, and BMI in both cognitively impaired and healthy subgroups. This study clarifies the relationships between executive functioning, premorbid IQ, and health risk behaviors in diverse groups, and confirms that premorbid IQ represents an important determinant of health behaviors and neurocognitive outcomes.

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