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School Performance and Educational Attainment as Early-Life Predictors of Age-Related Memory Decline: Protective Influences in Later-Born Cohorts
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Integrative Medical Biology (IMB).
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
2018 (English)In: The journals of gerontology. Series B, Psychological sciences and social sciences, ISSN 1079-5014, E-ISSN 1758-5368, article id gby137Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

Objectives: Evidence is accumulating that early-life characteristics and experiences contribute significantly to differences in cognitive aging. This study investigated whether school performance at age 12 predicted late-life level and rate of memory change over 15–25 years, and whether its potential protective influence on memory change was mediated by educational attainment or income.

Methods: Latent growth curve models were fitted to 15–25 year longitudinal memory data from a population-based sample, stratified on age cohorts (n = 227, born 1909–1935; n = 301, born 1938–1954).

Results: A latent-level school grade variable significantly predicted both memory level and slope in later-born cohorts. Higher grades were associated with higher level and reduced decline, measured between ages 45 and 70 years, on average. In the earlier-born cohorts, grades predicted memory level, but not slope, measured between ages 66 and 81 years. Follow-up analyses indicated that the protective influence of higher school grades in later-born cohorts was partially mediated by educational attainment, but independent of income.

Discussion: The results suggest that higher childhood school performance is protective against age-related cognitive decline in younger or later-born cohorts, for which further education has been more accessible. Education may exert such influence through increased cognitive reserve or more well-informed health- and lifestyle decisions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Oxford University Press, 2018. article id gby137
Keywords [en]
Individual differences, Life course and developmental change, Longitudinal change, Memory
National Category
Psychology (excluding Applied Psychology)
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-154279DOI: 10.1093/geronb/gby137PubMedID: 30445430OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-154279DiVA, id: diva2:1270907
Funder
The Royal Swedish Academy of SciencesAvailable from: 2018-12-14 Created: 2018-12-14 Last updated: 2019-04-05

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Pudas, SaraRönnlund, Michael

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The journals of gerontology. Series B, Psychological sciences and social sciences
Psychology (excluding Applied Psychology)

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CiteExportLink to record
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  • apa
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