Does brain reserve protect older women from vascular depression?

TitleDoes brain reserve protect older women from vascular depression?
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsPaulson, D, Bowen, ME, Lichtenberg, PA
JournalThe journals of gerontology. Series B, Psychological sciences and social sciences
KeywordsDemographics, Health Conditions and Status

OBJECTIVES: Brain reserve theory, typically discussed in relation to dementia, was examined with regard to late-life depression symptomatology and cerebrovascular burden (CVB) in older-old women. METHOD: It was predicted that in a 6-year longitudinal sample (Health and Retirement Study) of 1,355 stroke-free women aged 80 years and older, higher levels of depressive symptomatology (8-item Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression score) would be predicted by high CVB, less educational attainment, and the education CVB interaction after controlling for age and cognitive functioning (Telephone Interview for Cognitive Status). A latent growth curve model was used to identify differences in depression symptomatology at baseline and over time. Logistic regression analyses were used to predict clinically significant depressive symptomatology at each wave based on CVB, education, and the education CVB interaction. RESULTS: Results indicate that among older women, greater educational attainment predicted fewer depression symptoms at baseline, but this advantage was partially eroded over time. The education CVB interaction predicted clinically significant depressive symptoms at baseline when the benefits of education were most robust. DISCUSSION: Brain reserve, characterized by educational attainment, may counterbalance the effect of high CVB with respect to depressive symptoms, thereby preserving mood in late life. These findings support the application of brain reserve theory to late-life depression.


Times Cited: 0

Endnote Keywords

Cerebrovascular burden/Education

Endnote ID


Citation Key8055