Successful aging depends upon several internal and external factors that influence the overall aging process. Objective and subjective socioeconomic status emerge as potential psychosocial factors in the ethiopathophysiology of aging-related disorders. Presumably, low socioeconomic status can act as a psychosocial stressor that can affect humans’ physiology via psychoneuroendocrine mechanisms, that may, in turn, affect the brain physiology. In resting-state electroencephalography (EEG), excess theta and delta activity has been related to cognitive decline and dementia. The main aim of this study was to analyze the effect of objective and subjective socioeconomic status (SES) on cognition and brain electrical activity through EEG measures. The present research constitutes a cross-sectional study with thirty healthy older adults (61–82 years old) separated into two clusters: high socioeconomic (HS) and low socioeconomic (LS) status; they were evaluated and compared in cognitive terms using the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS-IV). An EEG at rest was recorded to measure brain activity and, as an indicator of long-term stress exposure, hair cortisol concentrations (HCC) were measured. Our results show that lower SES is related to a worse performance in working memory tasks (p
= 0.009), higher delta (p
= 0.002) and theta power (p
= 0.039), and lower alpha activity (p
= 0.028). However, it seems that SES does not significantly affect HCC in this population of healthy older adults. The effects of SES on long-term cortisol exposure, brain electrical activity, and cognitive functions in healthy older people emphasize the role of psychosocial factors in aging from an integrative perspective that will allow us to implement better prevention programs to target cognitive decline in adults.
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