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Leisure Activity in Old Age and Risk of Dementia: a 15-Year Prospective Study
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology. Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Population Studies (CPS).
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Clinical Sciences, Psychiatry.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8114-7615
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2014 (English)In: The journals of gerontology. Series B, Psychological sciences and social sciences, ISSN 1079-5014, E-ISSN 1758-5368, Vol. 69, no 4, 493-501 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Objectives. The aim of this study was to investigate whether leisure activity is associated with incident dementia in an older sample.

Method. We examined a sample of 1,475 elderly (>= 65 years) who were dementia free at baseline over a follow-up period of up to 15 years. In addition to analyses involving the total time period, separate analyses of three time periods were performed, 1-5, 6-10, and 11-15 years, following baseline measurement of leisure activity.

Results. After controlling for a variety of potential confounders, analyses of data for the total time period revealed that higher levels of "Total activity" and "Social activity," but not "Mental activity," were associated with decreased risk of dementia. However, analyses of the separate time periods showed that this association was only significant in the first time period, 1-5 years after baseline.

Discussion. The results from this study provide little support for the hypothesis that frequent engagement in leisure activities among elderly serve to protect against dementia diseases across a longer time frame. The finding of a relationship for the first time period, 1-5 years after baseline, could indicate short-term protective effects but could also reflect reverse causality.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Oxford University Press, 2014. Vol. 69, no 4, 493-501 p.
Keyword [en]
Cognitive aging, Dementia, Leisure activities, Lifestyle, Longitudinal
National Category
Psychology Other Health Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-79204DOI: 10.1093/geronb/gbt056ISI: 000338009000001PubMedID: 23766435Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84902162889OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-79204DiVA: diva2:640245
Available from: 2013-08-13 Created: 2013-08-13 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. The influence of social relationships and leisure activity on adult cognitive functioning and risk of dementia: Longitudinal population-based studies
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The influence of social relationships and leisure activity on adult cognitive functioning and risk of dementia: Longitudinal population-based studies
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[sv]
Sociala relationers och fritidsaktiviteters påverkan på kognitiv funktion i vuxenliv och risk för demens : Longitudinella populationsbaserade studier
Abstract [en]

Today, as we live longer, dementia diseases are becoming more prevalent around the world. Thus, further knowledge of how to maintain levels of cognitive functioning in old age and how to identify factors that postpone the onset of dementia are of acute interest. Lifestyle patterns and social life are important aspects to consider in this regard.

This thesis includes three studies. Study I investigated the association between participation in various leisure activities in old age (≥65 years) and risk of incident all-cause dementia. Analyses of the total follow-up time period (15 years) showed that higher levels of “Social” and “Total” leisure activity were associated with decreased risk of dementia. In Study II, the aim was to investigate the association between various aspects of social relationships in old age (≥65 years) and risk of incidents of all-cause dementia and Alzheimer's disease. Results showed that over the total follow-up period (16 years) higher values on the relationship index were associated with reduced risk of both dementia and Alzheimer's disease. Visiting/visits of friends and acquaintances more than once a week was related to decreased risk for all-cause dementia, but not for Alzheimer's disease. However, in neither Study I nor II did any of these factors alter the risk of all-cause dementia or Alzheimer's disease when near-onset dementias were removed from the analyses (Study I, up to five years; Study II, up to three years).

In Study III the aim was to investigate the association between social network size and cognitive ability in a middle-aged (40–60 years) sample. The idea was that if social network size can moderate negative age-related influence on memory functions, it might also put an individual on a cognitive trajectory that is beneficial in old age. Results from longitudinal analyses showed that baseline network size was positively related to five-year changes in semantic memory and with changes in both semantic and episodic memory at the ten-year follow-up. Social network size was unrelated to changes in visuospatial performance.

Taken together, enrichment factors measured in old age (≥ 65 years) did not alter the risk of all-cause dementia or Alzheimer's disease when near-onset dementias were removed from the analyses. These results might reflect protective short-term effects or reverse causality, meaning that in the prodromal phase of dementia individuals tend to withdraw from activity. Social network size in middle age (40-60 years), however, appears to have beneficial long-term effects on cognitive functioning. The results highlight the importance of long follow-up periods and the need to adjust for the influences of reverse causality when investigating the impact of a socially and mentally active life on cognitive functioning.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå Universitet, 2015. 103 p.
Keyword
Cognitive functioning, cognition, memory, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, cognitive reserve, reverse causality, old age, middle age, leisure activity, social relationships, social network, longitudinal
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-101840 (URN)978-91-7601-242-0 (ISBN)
Public defence
2015-05-08, Norra Beteendevetarhuset, Hörsal 1031, Umeå universitet, Umeå, 10:15 (Swedish)
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Available from: 2015-04-17 Created: 2015-04-14 Last updated: 2015-04-23Bibliographically approved

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Eriksson Sörman, DanielSundström, AnnaRönnlund, MichaelAdolfsson, Rolf
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