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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(4), 393; doi:10.3390/ijerph14040393

Life Course Trajectories of Later-Life Cognitive Functions: Does Social Engagement in Old Age Matter?

1
George Warren Brown School of Social Work, Washington University, 1 Brookings Drive, Saint Louis, MO 63130, USA
2
Center for Social Science, Seoul National University, 1 Gwanak-ro, Gwanak-gu, Seoul 08826, Korea
3
Department of Social Work, Daegu University, 201 Deagudae-ro, Gyeongsan-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do 38453, Korea
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Marcia G. Ory and Matthew Lee Smith
Received: 25 February 2017 / Revised: 4 April 2017 / Accepted: 5 April 2017 / Published: 7 April 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aging and Health Promotion)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [672 KB, uploaded 7 April 2017]   |  

Abstract

This study identified differential patterns of later-life cognitive function trajectories and examined to what extent life course factors and social engagement are associated with group trajectories. Data came from seven waves of the Health and Retirement Study (HRS 1998–2010; n = 7374; Observations = 41,051). Latent class growth analysis identified cognitive function trajectory groups, and multinomial logistic regression was used to examine the factors associated with group trajectories. Five heterogeneous trajectories were identified: stable high, stable moderate, stable low, high-to-moderate, and moderate-to-low. Findings suggest that, after adjusting for life course factors, individuals who became volunteers were more likely to belong to one of the two least vulnerable trajectories, stable high or high-to-moderate. Our findings suggest that, despite the cumulative life course factors evident in cognitive decline, social engagement in old age may serve as a potential protective resource. View Full-Text
Keywords: life-course perspective; cumulative disadvantage; cognitive function; social engagement; group trajectory life-course perspective; cumulative disadvantage; cognitive function; social engagement; group trajectory
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Park, S.; Kwon, E.; Lee, H. Life Course Trajectories of Later-Life Cognitive Functions: Does Social Engagement in Old Age Matter? Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14, 393.

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