|Title||Lifestyle Activities and Episodic Memory: A Dyadic Approach of Spousal Influence Using the Health and Retirement Study|
|Year of Publication||2018|
|Number of Pages||132|
|University||University of Nebraska|
|Keywords||Dyadic analyses, Episodic Memory, Gerontology, Health and Retirement Study, Lifestyle activities, Social Sciences|
Prior research has identified interindividual variabilities in episodic memory and has explored how many health factors influence individuals’ memory outcomes. Building on existing literature, the current study used a dyadic approach to investigate how specific lifestyle activities and marital relationships are associated with episodic memory among older married couples. Using a national sample from the 2012 Core Health and Retirement Study, a sample of 1,114 couples was examined. Using SAS Proc Mixed, multilevel models were used to evaluate individual and spousal contributions to episodic memory performance. The analyses answered two major questions: 1) What lifestyle activities had an association with individuals’ episodic memory? 2) Using a dyadic approach, which specific spousal lifestyle activities were associated with individuals’ episodic memory? It was hypothesized that individuals’ participation in lifestyle activities would have an association with individuals’ episodic memory. In addition, it was hypothesized that at the couple level, when controlling for the individuals’ lifestyle activities, partners’ participation in lifestyle activities would have an association with individuals’ episodic memory. Results indicated that reading and using a computer were positively associated with individuals’ immediate and delayed recall. Doing word games was positively associated with individuals’ immediate recall. Spouses’ baking/cooking was negatively associated with individuals’ immediate and delayed recall, and sewing/knitting was negatively associated with individuals’ immediate recall. Both individuals’ and partners’ self-rated health and individuals’ rating of their spouses “getting on their nerves” were positively associated with immediate recall. The current study demonstrated that individuals’ and spouses’ activities showed an influence on individuals’ episodic memory, though the type of activities differed. Corresponding to Rowe and Kahn’s successful aging model, having activity engagement, maintaining cognitive functioning, and avoiding diseases are three factors to achieve successful aging. Married couples may have a built-in social relationship and support. Coupled with activity engagement, two out of the three factors bring individuals closer to achieving successful aging.
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