Send to

Choose Destination
Neuroepidemiology. 2013;40(4):247-52. doi: 10.1159/000342781. Epub 2013 Jan 24.

Poor decision making is associated with an increased risk of mortality among community-dwelling older persons without dementia.

Author information

Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center 600 S. Paulina, Suite 1020B, Chicago, IL 60612, USA. Patricia_Boyle @



Decision making is thought to be an important determinant of health and well-being across the lifespan, but little is known about the association of decision making with mortality.


Participants were 675 older persons without dementia from the Rush Memory and Aging Project, a longitudinal cohort study of aging. Baseline assessments of decision making were used to predict the risk of mortality during up to 4 years of follow-up.


The mean score on the decision making measure at baseline was 7.1 (SD = 2.9, range: 0-12), with lower scores indicating poorer decision making. During up to 4 years of follow-up (mean = 1.7 years), 40 (6% of 675) persons died. In a proportional hazards model adjusted for age, sex and education, the risk of mortality increased by about 20% for each additional decision making error (HR = 1.19, 95% CI = 1.07-1.32, p = 0.002). Thus, a person who performed poorly on the measure of decision making (score = 3, 10th percentile) was about 4 times more likely to die compared to a person who performed well (score = 11, 90th percentile). Further, the association of decision making with mortality persisted after adjustment for the level of cognitive function.


Poor decision making is associated with an increased risk of mortality in old age even after accounting for cognitive function.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for S. Karger AG, Basel, Switzerland Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center