|Title||Verbal memory is associated with adherence to COVID-19 protective behaviors in community dwelling older adults.|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2021|
|Authors||O'Shea, DM, Davis, JD, Tremont, G|
|Journal||Aging Clinical and Experimental Research|
|Keywords||Adherence, Aging, community living, COVID-19, Memory|
BACKGROUND: Adherence to protective behaviors is central to limiting the spread of COVID-19 and associated risk of serious illness and mortality in older populations. Whether cognition predicts adherence to protective behaviors has not been examined in older adults.
AIMS: To examine whether specific cognitive abilities predict adherence to COVID-19 protective behaviors in older adults, independent of other relevant factors.
METHODS: Data from 431 older adults (i.e., ≥ 65 years) who took part in the COVID-19 module of the Health and Retirement Study were included in the present study. Separate binary logistic regression models were used to examine whether performance on measures of immediate and delayed recall and working memory predicted adherence to COVID-19 protective behaviors, controlling for demographics, level of COVID-19 concern, depressive symptoms, and medical conditions.
RESULTS: For every unit increase in immediate and delayed recall, the probability of adhering to COVID-19 protective behaviors increased by 47% and 69%, respectively. There was no association between the measure of working memory and adherence.
DISCUSSION: It is of public interest to understand the factors that reduce adherence to protective behaviors so that we can better protect those most vulnerable and limit community spread. Our findings demonstrate that reduced memory predicts non-adherence to COVID-19 protective behaviors, independent of virus concern, and other relevant demographic and health factors.
CONCLUSIONS: Public health strategies aimed at increasing adherence to COVID-19 protective behaviors in community dwelling older adults, should account for the role of reduced cognitive function in limiting adherence.