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Neuroepidemiology. 2011;36(3):162-8. doi: 10.1159/000325779. Epub 2011 Apr 20.

Socioeconomic position and cognitive function in the Seychelles: a life course analysis.

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  • 1Department of Community and Preventive Medicine, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, NY 14642, USA.



Poorer socioeconomic conditions early in life have been linked with memory, attention and learning deficits in adulthood, as well as with specific areas of educational achievement. It remains unclear, however, whether these distal associations are mediated by more current socioeconomic factors. In this study, we sought to confirm the relation between early-life socioeconomic position (SEP) and adult cognitive function, and to examine potential mediation by contemporaneous SEP.


Data from 463 young adults from the Main Cohort of the Seychelles Child Development Study were analyzed using subtests of the Cambridge Neurological Test Automated Battery and the Woodcock Johnson Test of Scholastic Achievement in relation to maternal Hollingshead Social Status Index scores at study enrollment (infancy), follow-up at 107 months, and follow-up at 17 years.


Findings include evidence of a link between infant-period SEP and 17-year memory, which was not mediated by childhood and 17-year SEP. Verbal and mathematical achievement at 17 years was associated with SEP at all points in the life course.


SEP at different points during the young-adult life course may affect different cognitive domains later in life, which may provide targets for societal investment in ensuring adequate family resources throughout childhood and adolescence.

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