|Title||Education, Social Engagement, and Cognitive Function: A Cross-Lagged Panel Analysis.|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2023|
|Authors||Du, C, Miyazaki, Y, Dong, XQi, Li, M|
|Journal||J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci|
OBJECTIVES: Although education and social engagement are considered cognitive reserves, the pathway of both reserves on cognitive function have been rarely studied. This study aimed to examine the underlying mechanism between education, social engagement, and cognitive function.
METHODS: This study used two-wave data (2010 and 2014) from Health and Retirement Study (HRS) in the United States (N = 3201). Education was measured by years of schooling. Social engagement was evaluated by 20 items including volunteering, physical activities, social activities, and cognitive activities. Cognitive function was assessed by a modified Telephone Interview for Cognitive Status (TICS). A cross-lagged panel model was fitted to test the mediating mechanism between education, social engagement, and cognitive function.
RESULTS: Controlling for covariates, higher education in early life was associated with better cognitive function in old age (b = 0.211, 95% CI = [0.163, 0.259], p<0.01). Late-life social engagement partially mediated the association between education and cognitive function (indirect effect = 0.021, 95% CI = [0.010, 0.033], p<0.01). The indirect path between education and social engagement via cognition also existed (b = 0.009, 95% CI = [0.005, 0.012], p<0.001).
DISCUSSION: Education in earlier life stage may exert a lifelong effect on cognitive function as well as an indirect effect via enhancing late-life cognitive reserve such as social engagement. The cross-lagged effect of social engagement on cognitive function is significant and vice versa. Future research may explore other cognitive reserves over the life course and its underlying mechanism to achieve healthy cognitive aging.