|Title||The Role of Fertility and Partnership History in Later-life Cognition|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2022|
|Keywords||Ageing, Cognition, Family Trajectories, life course, Sequence analysis|
Cognitive ageing continues to be a significant burden for society and a primary contributor to individuals’ diminishing independence and quality of life. Therefore, improving our understanding of life-course influences on cognitive function is a necessity for public health. Parenthood and marriage are two such influences that may affect cognition in old age. Using the Health and Retirement Study, the relationship between family histories and cognitive functioning in adults in the ‘older’ age group in the United States is investigated through a sequence-analysis approach. The results show that most of the relationship between fertility and partnership history and cognition later in life is explained by childhood health and socioeconomic conditions, and current sociodemographic characteristics. However, those individuals who have never been married, and in particular those who have never been married and have had no children, report a significantly lower level of cognitive functioning in older age, especially women.