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Age Ageing. 2016 Jul;45(4):475-80. doi: 10.1093/ageing/afw060. Epub 2016 Apr 21.

Social support and cognition in a community-based cohort: the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study.

Author information

1
Department of Epidemiology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Gillings School of Global Public Health, Chapel Hill, NC, USA.
2
Center for Observational and Real World Evidence, Merck & Co., Inc., North Wales, PA, USA.
3
Department of Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins University, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD, USA.
4
Department of Epidemiology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Gillings School of Global Public Health, Chapel Hill, NC, USA Department of Medicine, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, NC, USA.
5
Department of Neurology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, USA.
6
Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA.
7
Department of Medicine, University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson, MS, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

social support has demonstrated cross-sectional associations with greater cognitive function and a protective effect against cognitive decline in older adults, but exploration of its temporal role in cognitive ageing from mid-life to older adulthood has been limited. We aimed to quantify the associations of social support, assessed at mid-life, with cognitive function in mid-life and with cognitive decline into late life among African Americans and Caucasians.

METHODS:

data from the community-based, prospective Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) cohort of 15,792 biracial participants were examined for baseline and longitudinal associations of mid-life social support with global cognition at mid-life and with 20-year change in global cognition, respectively, stratified by race. Interactions with sociodemographic and cardiometabolic covariates were additionally explored within each race group. Social support was ascertained using two metrics: interpersonal support and social network.

RESULTS:

interpersonal support was directly associated with greater global cognition at baseline in both race groups. Social network was directly associated with greater global cognition at baseline among Caucasians and African American females, but it was not significantly associated with global cognition in African American males. Neither mid-life social support measure was associated with 20-year change in global cognition.

CONCLUSIONS:

higher levels of social support were moderately associated with greater multi-dimensional cognitive function at mid-life, but mid-life social support was not associated with temporal change in global cognitive function over 20 years into late life. Prospective studies with time-dependent measures of social support and cognition are needed to better understand the role of social engagement in ageing-related cognitive functioning.

KEYWORDS:

cognition; cognitive; older people; psychosocial; social; social support; support

PMID:
27107128
PMCID:
PMC5006245
DOI:
10.1093/ageing/afw060
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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