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Menopause. 2014 Oct;21(10):1069-74. doi: 10.1097/GME.0000000000000236.

Role of grandparenting in postmenopausal women's cognitive health: results from the Women's Healthy Aging Project.

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  • 1From the 1University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia; 2Stanford University, Stanford, CA; and 3National Aging Research Institute, Parkville, Victoria, Australia.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Preserving aging cognition improves quality of life and delays dementia onset. Previous studies have shown that social engagement can maintain cognition; however, none has examined the effects of grandparenting, an important role among postmenopausal women. This study aims to examine the role of grandparenting in cognition among postmenopausal women.

METHODS:

Participants were 186 Australian women from the longitudinal prospective Women's Healthy Aging Project. Cognition was assessed using the Symbol-Digit Modalities Test (SDMT), California Verbal Learning Test, and Tower of London.

RESULTS:

Amount of time spent minding grandchildren predicted differences in SDMT performance (P < 0.01). The highest cognitive scores for most tests were seen in participants who minded grandchildren for 1 day/week. Minding grandchildren for 1 day/week was also a significant positive predictor of California Verbal Learning Test immediate recall performance (P < 0.05). However, minding grandchildren for 5 days or more per week predicted lower SDMT performance (P < 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS:

The data suggest that the highest cognitive performance is demonstrated by postmenopausal women who spend 1 day/week minding grandchildren; however, minding grandchildren for 5 days or more per week predicts lower working memory performance and processing speed. These results indicate that highly frequent grandparenting predicts lower cognitive performance.

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PMID:
24714623
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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