Reference : Partnership and cognitive aging in Europe: Mediating factors and social stratification
Scientific journals : Article
Social & behavioral sciences, psychology : Sociology & social sciences
Social & behavioral sciences, psychology : Neurosciences & behavior
Partnership and cognitive aging in Europe: Mediating factors and social stratification
Bertogg, Ariane mailto [University of Konstanz]
Leist, Anja mailto [University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences (FHSE) > Department of Social Sciences (DSOC) >]
Journals of Gerontology. Series B, Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Oxford University Press
Yes (verified by ORBilu)
[en] health outcomes ; marriage ; bereavement ; life course analysis ; cognitive functioning ; divorce ; older age ; SHARE ; longitudinal
[en] Objectives. Living in a partnership has been shown to benefit later life health in general and decrease the risk of cognitive impairment. Few studies have, however, examined whether different types of partnership transitions also differ with respect to their impact on cognitive trajectories, and whether financial resources, health behaviors, cognitive stimulation and social integration can explain these differences.
Methods. Data came from six waves of the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe, which is a representative panel for the population aged 50 years or older, and was collected between 2004 and 2017 in 20 European countries. Our sample includes 213,023 valid person-year observations from 81,814 persons. Mean age at baseline is 63.86 years, and individuals were observed on average 2.6 times. Cognitive functioning was assessed with measures of immediate and delayed recall on a memory test, and verbal fluency. Fixed-effects regression models were employed to exploit individual-level variation in partnership and simultaneous cognitive changes.
Results. Partnership status was stable in most respondents (around 90%). Compared to remaining partnered and after controlling for socio-demographic factors, transition to divorce was associated with a steeper decline in immediate and delayed recall. Exploring possible mechanisms, both financial resources and social integration explained these differences. Additional analyses suggested that effects were mostly driven by individuals with lower education.
Discussion. Partnership transitions remain infrequent events in later life, but our findings indicate that they can induce less favorable cognitive trajectories compared to partnered individuals, particularly for those with lower cognitive reserve.
Integrative Research Unit: Social and Individual Development (INSIDE) > PEARL Institute for Research on Socio-Economic Inequality (IRSEI)
European Commission - EC
H2020 ; 803239 - CRISP - Cognitive Aging: From Educational Opportunities to Individual Risk Profiles

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