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Gerontologist. 2017 Nov 10;57(6):1031-1040. doi: 10.1093/geront/gnw154.

Social Connectedness, Perceived Isolation, and Dementia: Does the Social Environment Moderate the Relationship Between Genetic Risk and Cognitive Well-Being?

Author information

1
Center on Aging, College of Human Ecology, Kansas State University, Manhattan.
2
Department of Gerontology, McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies, University of Massachusetts, Boston.
3
Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Abstract

Purpose of the Study:

This study examined whether the social environment moderates the relationship between the APOE e4 allele and cognitive functioning.

Design and Methods:

The Aging, Demographics, and Memory Study (ADAMS) data and multinomial logistic regression models were used to investigate these relationships for a nationally representative sample of U.S. adults aged 70 and older (n = 779).

Results:

Living alone (relative risk ratio [RRR] = 5.814; p = .000) and self-reported loneliness (RRR = 1.928, p = .049) were associated with a greater risk of cognitive difficulty. Living arrangements, perceived social support, and loneliness were found to moderate the relationship between the APOE e4 allele and cognitive function.

Implications:

The results support the need to consider the social context when examining cognitive well-being in later life. These findings also indicate a need for the development of policies and services that promote a rich social environment.

KEYWORDS:

APOE; Alzheimer’s disease; Cognition; Genes; Social context

PMID:
28329797
DOI:
10.1093/geront/gnw154
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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