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Functional Ability in Everyday Life: Are Associations with an Engaged Lifestyle Mediated by Working Memory?


Guye, Sabrina; Röcke, Christina; Martin, Mike; Von Bastian, Claudia C (2019). Functional Ability in Everyday Life: Are Associations with an Engaged Lifestyle Mediated by Working Memory? Journals of Gerontology, Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences:ePub ahead of print.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: An engaged lifestyle has been linked to measures of functional ability in everyday life. However, the underlying mechanism of this link is still understudied. We propose working memory as a potential mediator of this relation.

METHOD: Modelling data of 158 older adults with a latent-variables approach, we examined whether working memory mediated the relation between an engaged lifestyle, that is, intellectual, social and physical activities, and functional ability, that is, self-reported everyday failures and test-based everyday performance.

RESULTS: Working memory was found to fully mediate the relation between gaming activities and test-based everyday performance. Further, we found a negative association between sports activities and self-reported everyday failures not mediated through working memory, indicating that individuals who reported high levels of sports activities reported fewer everyday cognitive failures. All other lifestyle activities were, however, neither directly nor indirectly associated with functional ability.

DISCUSSION: Working memory is one pathway by which gaming activities are related to test-based measures of functional ability in everyday life. Given the overlapping cognitive demands of working memory, gaming activities, and the test-based measure of functional ability, the findings suggest that while an engaged lifestyle can benefit functional ability, those benefits may be limited to highly similar domains.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: An engaged lifestyle has been linked to measures of functional ability in everyday life. However, the underlying mechanism of this link is still understudied. We propose working memory as a potential mediator of this relation.

METHOD: Modelling data of 158 older adults with a latent-variables approach, we examined whether working memory mediated the relation between an engaged lifestyle, that is, intellectual, social and physical activities, and functional ability, that is, self-reported everyday failures and test-based everyday performance.

RESULTS: Working memory was found to fully mediate the relation between gaming activities and test-based everyday performance. Further, we found a negative association between sports activities and self-reported everyday failures not mediated through working memory, indicating that individuals who reported high levels of sports activities reported fewer everyday cognitive failures. All other lifestyle activities were, however, neither directly nor indirectly associated with functional ability.

DISCUSSION: Working memory is one pathway by which gaming activities are related to test-based measures of functional ability in everyday life. Given the overlapping cognitive demands of working memory, gaming activities, and the test-based measure of functional ability, the findings suggest that while an engaged lifestyle can benefit functional ability, those benefits may be limited to highly similar domains.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
08 Research Priority Programs > Dynamics of Healthy Aging
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Language:English
Date:11 May 2019
Deposited On:26 Jun 2019 09:22
Last Modified:26 Jun 2019 09:25
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN:1079-5014
OA Status:Closed
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1093/geronb/gbz056
PubMed ID:31077270
Project Information:
  • : FunderSuzanne and Hans Biäsch Foundation for Applied Psychology
  • : Grant ID2014/32
  • : Project Title
  • : FunderForschungskredit of the University of Zurich
  • : Grant IDFK-16–062
  • : Project Title

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