Longitudinal psychosocial predictors of cognitive function in old adults


  • D. Lucanin
  • E.A. Delale
  • J. Despot Lucanin
  • A. Koscec Bjelajac
  • M. Stambuk


The implications of declining cognitive functioning on old persons’ daily lives are complex and not well understood, despite its importance. Recent longitudinal studies on ageing regard the age changes in cognition as important determinant of adjustment to ageing, quality of life and survival (Allerhand, Gale, and Deary, 2014). Independence in old age is as much determined by cognitive functioning as by physical functioning. Normal cognitive changes are important to understand because they can affect an older adult’s daily functioning and they can help distinguish normal from disease states (Harada, Natelson Love and Triebel, 2013). The aim of this study was to determine the longitudinal predictive contribution of psychosocial factors to the cognitive function in old persons. Participants were 167 retirement homes’ residents in Zagreb, Croatia, followed-up for eight years, assessed at three measurement times: in 2008, 2010 and 2016. Their age was 69-100 years, average 85 years in 2016 (77 years at baseline), 80% were women, ambulatory and not diagnosed with dementia. Variables were cognitive function, functional ability, self-perceived health, social participation, depression, life satisfaction, and sociodemographic. Trained interviewers collected data individually. Different regression analyses models indicated that the observed set of predictors explained 34% - 37% of the cognitive function variance in 2016. The significant longitudinal predictors were baseline cognitive function, social participation, functional ability, and age. Identifying long-term predictors of cognitive changes has implications for the development of prevention strategies and interventions to delay cognitive impairment in old age and improve quality of life.





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