Association of social deprivation with cognitive status and decline in older adults.

TitleAssociation of social deprivation with cognitive status and decline in older adults.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsHofbauer, LM, Rodriguez, FS
JournalInternational Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
ISSN Number1099-1166
KeywordsCognition, Cognitive decline, Dementia, social deprivation, socioeconomic

OBJECTIVES: Social deprivation, i.e. the relative deprivation in socioeconomic domains, is known to exacerbate disease risk. Less is known about its role in cognitive functioning and decline in older adults. This study aimed to investigate the association between social deprivation and cognitive status as well as rate of decline.

METHODS: We analysed data from the nationally representative Health and Retirement study (HRS) of individuals aged 50 and older. The analysis sample contained 11,101 respondents (mean age at baseline: 69.4, SD: 8.6, 55% female) with at least two cognitive assessments (mean follow up: 11.2, SD: 5.4). To quantify social deprivation we constructed a social deprivation index (SDI) with structural equation modelling. Multiple growth curve modelling was used to model cognitive status and decline as predicted by SDI.

RESULTS: After adjusting for covariates, greater social deprivation was associated with poorer cognitive status (β= -0.910, p <.001; 95% CI: -0.998-0.823) and faster cognitive decline (β= -0.005, p=.002; 95% CI:-0.009-0.002). Of the covariates, depressive symptoms, chronic disease burden, belonging to a racial or ethnical minority, and male gender were also associated with poorer cognitive status. Marriage statuses other than being married or partnered had a positive association with cognitive status.

CONCLUSIONS: Our findings indicate that greater social deprivation was associated with significantly poorer cognitive status implying that preventing social deprivation can contribute to raising cognitive functioning in the older population and help reduce the incidence of dementia. Policy that facilitates early intervention in social deprivation will be key. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Citation Key11582
PubMed ID33860548