Social Engagement and Physical and Cognitive Health Among American Indian Participants in the Health and Retirement Study

TitleSocial Engagement and Physical and Cognitive Health Among American Indian Participants in the Health and Retirement Study
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsNelson, LA, Noonan, CJ, Goldberg, J, Buchwald, DS
JournalJournal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology
Volume28
Issue4
Pagination453
KeywordsHealth Conditions and Status, Public Policy, Women and Minorities
Abstract

Social engagement has many demonstrated benefits for aging non-Hispanic Whites in the U.S. This study examined data from the U.S. Health and Retirement Study to determine whether these benefits were similar among American Indians and Alaska Natives older than 50 years. Linear regression techniques were used to examine the associations between level of social engagement, scores for memory and mental status, and self-reported health among 203 American Indian and Alaska Native elders who participated in the Health and Retirement Study and had data available between 1998 and 2010. Level of social engagement was significantly associated with memory, mental status, and self-reported health. However, only the association of social engagement with mental status and self-reported health remained significant (p = 0.04 and p = 0.05, respectively) after adjusting for sociodemographic variables, number of known health conditions, and scores on the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression scale. Level of social engagement was not associated with patterns of decline across time in cognitive or physical health. Higher levels of social engagement are associated with better physical and cognitive functioning in American Indian and Alaska Native elders. Future studies should examine whether this association acts through cognitive stimulation, increase in physical activity resulting from social engagement, or access to resources that support physical and cognitive health.

Endnote Keywords

CES Depression Scale/CES Depression Scale/Cognition/Alaska Natives/American Indians/Social engagement/Public health/Native Americans/Depression/Public Policy

Endnote ID

69332

Citation Key7899