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Open AccessArticle

Leisure Activities and Change in Cognitive Stability: A Multivariate Approach

Cognitive aging lab, FPSE, University of Geneva, Geneva 1211, Switzerland
Group of Developmental and Differential Psychology, FPSE, University of Geneva, Geneva 1211, Switzerland
Methodology and Data Analysis Unit, FPSE, University of Geneva, Geneva 1211, Switzerland
Swiss Distance Learning University, Brig 3900, Switzerland
LIVES–Overcoming vulnerability: Life course perspectives, University of Geneva, Geneva 1211, Switzerland
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Kamen Tsvetanov
Brain Sci. 2017, 7(3), 27;
Received: 8 December 2016 / Revised: 17 January 2017 / Accepted: 25 February 2017 / Published: 1 March 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Risk and Protective Factors for Neurocognitive Aging)
PDF [253 KB, uploaded 1 March 2017]


Aging is traditionally associated with cognitive decline, attested by slower reaction times and poorer performance in various cognitive tasks, but also by an increase in intraindividual variability (IIV) in cognitive performance. Results concerning how lifestyle activities protect from cognitive decline are mixed in the literature and all focused on how it affects mean performance. However, IIV has been proven to be an index more sensitive to age differences, and very little is known about the relationships between lifestyle activities and change in IIV in aging. This longitudinal study explores the association between frequency of physical, social, intellectual, artistic, or cultural activities and age-related change in various cognitive abilities, considering both mean performance and IIV. Ninety-six participants, aged 64–93 years, underwent a battery of cognitive tasks at four measurements over a seven-year period, and filled out a lifestyle activity questionnaire. Linear multilevel models were used to analyze the associations between change in cognitive performance and five types of activities. Results showed that the practice of leisure activities was more strongly associated with IIV than with mean performance, both when considering overall level and change in performance. Relationships with IIV were dependent of the cognitive tasks considered and overall results showed protective effects of cultural, physical and intellectual activities on IIV. These results underline the need for considering IIV in the study of age-related cognitive change. View Full-Text
Keywords: intraindividual variability; cognitive aging; leisure activities; longitudinal study intraindividual variability; cognitive aging; leisure activities; longitudinal study
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Mella, N.; Grob, E.; Döll, S.; Ghisletta, P.; De Ribaupierre, A. Leisure Activities and Change in Cognitive Stability: A Multivariate Approach. Brain Sci. 2017, 7, 27.

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