Negative Wealth Shock and Cognitive Decline and Dementia in Middle-Aged and Older US Adults.

TitleNegative Wealth Shock and Cognitive Decline and Dementia in Middle-Aged and Older US Adults.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2023
AuthorsPan, L, Gao, B, Zhu, J, Guo, J
JournalJAMA Network Open
ISSN Number2574-3805
KeywordsCognition, Cognitive Dysfunction, Dementia, Shock

IMPORTANCE: As a financial hardship, negative wealth shock has been implicated in some adverse health outcomes. However, associations between negative wealth shock and cognitive decline and dementia have not been examined.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate whether negative wealth shock was associated with cognitive decline and incident dementia among middle-aged and older US adults.

DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: The Health and Retirement Study (HRS) is a prospective cohort study conducted biennially among US adults older than 50 years. Data from the HRS from calendar years 1996 to 2020 were analyzed from July 1 to 31, 2023. The final sample included 8082 participants with complete data of interest.

EXPOSURES: Wealth status was quantified with questionnaires. Negative wealth shock was defined as a loss of 75% or more in total wealth over a 2-year period. Asset poverty was defined as zero or less total net wealth.

MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Cognitive function was assessed with the modified Telephone Interview for Cognitive Status (TICS-m). Dementia status was determined with TICS-m scores and proxy assessment.

RESULTS: Among 8082 participants included (mean [SD] age, 63.7 [5.7] years; 4179 women [51.7%] and 3903 men [48.3%]; 1111 Black [13.7%], 6689 White [82.7%], and 282 other [3.5%]), 1441 developed incident dementia over a median follow-up time of 14 (IQR, 7-20) years. Compared with participants who had positive wealth without shock, those with negative wealth shock had accelerated cognitive decline (β coefficient, -0.014 [95% CI, -0.027 to -0.001]; P = .03) and increased risks of dementia (hazard ratio [HR], 1.27 [95% CI, 1.11-1.46]; P < .001). Higher dementia risks were also found in participants with asset poverty at baseline (HR, 1.61 [95% CI, 1.30-2.00]; P < .001). Associations were found in White participants (HR, 1.34 [95% CI, 1.14-1.58]; P < .001) and participants younger than 65 years (HR, 1.38 [95% CI, 1.13-1.68]; P = .001) but not in other races and ethnicities or those 65 years or older.

CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: In this cohort study, negative wealth shock was associated with accelerated cognitive decline and elevated risks of dementia among middle-aged and older US adults, with modifications by age and ethnicity. These findings should be confirmed by further prospective and interventional studies.

Citation Key13670
PubMed ID38147330
PubMed Central IDPMC10751595