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Longitudinal Within-Person Associations Between Quality of Social Relations, Structure of Social Relations, and Cognitive Functioning in Older Age


Luo, Minxia; Edelsbrunner, Peter Adriaan; Siebert, Jelena Sophie; Martin, Mike; Aschwanden, Damaris (2021). Longitudinal Within-Person Associations Between Quality of Social Relations, Structure of Social Relations, and Cognitive Functioning in Older Age. Journals of Gerontology, Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences:Epub ahead of print.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: Individuals' social connections and interpersonal experiences can both shape and be shaped by cognitive functioning. This study examines longitudinal within-person associations between quality of social relations, structure of social relations, and cognitive functioning in older age.

METHOD: We examined 16-year longitudinal data (3 waves) from 497 older adults (M = 66.07 years, SD = 0.83, range = 64-68 years) from the Interdisciplinary Longitudinal Study of Adult Development and Aging (ILSE). Quality of social relations was measured by scales on perceived emotional support, instrumental support, and social integration. Structure of social relations was measured by self-reported number of leisure time partner types, indicating social network diversity. Cognitive functioning was assessed as a latent construct consisting of five cognitive tests (i.e., Information, Similarities, Letter Fluency, Picture Completion, Block Design). We used a random intercept cross-lagged panel model in the analysis.

RESULTS: At the within-person level, prior quality of social relations, but not structure of social relations, was positively associated with subsequent cognitive functioning. Moreover, prior cognitive functioning was positively associated with subsequent structure of social relations, but not with quality of social relations.

DISCUSSION: Quality of social relations is a protective factor of cognitive aging. Additionally, responding to prior lower cognitive functioning, social network diversity reduced, but quality of social relations did not seem to change. Overall, this study suggested that social relations and cognitive functioning mutually influence each other, but different aspects of social relations (i.e., quality, structure) might have different directional associations with cognitive functioning.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: Individuals' social connections and interpersonal experiences can both shape and be shaped by cognitive functioning. This study examines longitudinal within-person associations between quality of social relations, structure of social relations, and cognitive functioning in older age.

METHOD: We examined 16-year longitudinal data (3 waves) from 497 older adults (M = 66.07 years, SD = 0.83, range = 64-68 years) from the Interdisciplinary Longitudinal Study of Adult Development and Aging (ILSE). Quality of social relations was measured by scales on perceived emotional support, instrumental support, and social integration. Structure of social relations was measured by self-reported number of leisure time partner types, indicating social network diversity. Cognitive functioning was assessed as a latent construct consisting of five cognitive tests (i.e., Information, Similarities, Letter Fluency, Picture Completion, Block Design). We used a random intercept cross-lagged panel model in the analysis.

RESULTS: At the within-person level, prior quality of social relations, but not structure of social relations, was positively associated with subsequent cognitive functioning. Moreover, prior cognitive functioning was positively associated with subsequent structure of social relations, but not with quality of social relations.

DISCUSSION: Quality of social relations is a protective factor of cognitive aging. Additionally, responding to prior lower cognitive functioning, social network diversity reduced, but quality of social relations did not seem to change. Overall, this study suggested that social relations and cognitive functioning mutually influence each other, but different aspects of social relations (i.e., quality, structure) might have different directional associations with cognitive functioning.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Language:English
Date:6 January 2021
Deposited On:28 Jan 2021 10:25
Last Modified:11 Feb 2021 12:59
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN:1079-5014
Additional Information:This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in the Journals of Gerontology, Series B following peer review. The definitive publisher-authenticated version is available online at: https://academic.oup.com/psychsocgerontology/advance-article/doi/10.1093/geronb/gbab001/6066540
OA Status:Closed
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1093/geronb/gbab001
PubMed ID:33406247

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