|Title||Spousal education and cognitive functioning in later life.|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2020|
|Journal||The Journals of Gerontology, Series B: Psychological Sciences & Social Sciences|
|Keywords||Cognition & Reasoning, Education, Marriage|
Objectives: Numerous studies have documented the relationship between education and cognitive functioning at the individual level. Yet few studies have examined whether a spouse's education spills over to influence the other spouse's cognitive functioning. This study, therefore, investigated the association between spousal education and cognitive functioning, the pathways that may account for this association, and gender differences in this association.
Method: Growth curve models were analyzed by using longitudinal couple data from the Health and Retirement Study (N=5,846 individuals).
Results: More years of spousal education is associated with higher level of cognitive functioning at age 65 (γ000=.0532, 95% confidence interval [CI]=.0163.0901) and slower decline in cognitive functioning in later adulthood (γ100 =.0054, 95% CI=.0026.0082). The positive association between spousal education and the level of cognitive functioning at age 65 was fully explained by economic resources. The association of spousal education with the rate of cognitive decline decreased but remained significant after controlling for economic resources and health behaviors (γ100 =.0043, 95% CI =.0014.0072). The association between spousal education and cognitive functioning was similar for men and women.
Discussion: Findings suggest that more years of spousal education may slow decline in cognitive functioning for men and women in later life.