|Title||The Influence of Mental, Physical, and Social Activity on Episodic Memory of Persons Aged 50 and Above in the United States|
|Year of Publication||2020|
|Degree||Doctor of Philosophy|
|University||Florida Atlantic University|
|City||Boca Raton, FL|
|Keywords||cognitive functioning, Episodic Memory, Mental activity, Older Adults, Physical activity, Social activity|
The purpose of this study was to describe the relationship between mental, physical, and social activity, and episodic memory (EM) of cognitively intact older persons. The specific aims were (a) to describe the relationship between EM and mental, physical, and social activity, (b) to describe the role of gender, marital status, and race on EM, (c) to describe the moderating effects of each activity on the relationship between each of the remaining two activities and EM, and (d) to describe the moderating effects of gender, marital status, and race on the relationship between each activity and EM. Two theoretical frameworks: Cognitive Reserve Theory (Stern, 2002) and Theory of Nursing as Caring (Boykin & Schoenhofer, 1993) guided the study.
This study was designed as a correlational and retrospective secondary analysis of data sets from the Health and Retirement Study. The sample consisted of 3,903 cognitively intact persons who were 50 years and older and completed immediate and delayed recall tests in the 2016 HRS and the 2015 Consumptions and Activities Mail Survey. Descriptive statistics included the means for age: 67 (SD 9.54), education:13.85 (SD 5.89), and total cognition 16.86 (SD 3.11). The sample was predominantly Caucasian (78.3%), female (59.8%), and married (60.9%).
The regression model, including mental, physical, and social activity as the predictors, and EM as the criterion was non-significant. There was a significant relationship between gender and EM, indicating that women had higher EM scores than men had. Regression results also showed significant associations between marital status, race, and EM. Compared to the married group, EM scores significantly reduced in the divorced and widowed group. Compared to Whites/Caucasians, African Americans had significantly lower EM scores. The moderation analysis indicated that mental activity significantly moderated the relationship between physical activity and EM. There was a positive relationship between physical activity and EM in the low mental activity group. Gender moderated the relationship between mental activity and EM, indicating a negative relationship between mental activity and EM for women. Marital status also moderated the relationship between physical activity and EM, revealing a positive relationship between physical activity and EM for the widowed group. The study findings can guide primary care services and health-promoting interventions for cognitively intact adults to maintain and improve their episodic memory.