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See detailTime away from work predicts later cognitive function: Differences by activity during leave
Leist, Anja UL; Glymour, M. Maria; Mackenbach, Johan P. et al

in Annals of Epidemiology (2013), 23

Purpose. We sought to examine how different activities performed during employment gaps are associated with later cognitive function and change. Method. Five cognitive measures were used to indicate ... [more ▼]

Purpose. We sought to examine how different activities performed during employment gaps are associated with later cognitive function and change. Method. Five cognitive measures were used to indicate cognitive impairment of 18,259 respondents to the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (age 50-73) in 2004/5 or 2006/7. Using complete employment histories, employment gaps of six months or more between ages 25 and 65 were identified. Results. Controlling for early-life socioeconomic status, school performance, and education, higher risk of cognitive impairment was associated with employment gaps described as unemployment (Odds Ratio [OR] = 1.18, 95 % Confidence Interval [CI] 1.04, 1.35) and sickness (OR = 1.78, 95 % CI 1.52, 2.09). In contrast, lower risk of cognitive impairment was associated with employment gaps described as training (OR = 0.73, 95 % CI 0.52, 1.01) or maternity (OR = 0.65, 95 % CI 0.57, 0.79). In longitudinal mixed effects models, training and maternity spells were associated with lower two-year aging-related cognitive decline. Discussion. Periods away from work described as unemployment or sickness are associated with lower cognitive function, whereas maternity and training spells are associated with better late-life cognitive function. Both causation and selection mechanisms may explain these findings. [less ▲]

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