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  • 1.
    Eriksson, Daniel
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Nilsson, Lars-Göran
    Psykologiska institutionen, Stockholms universitet.
    Rönnlund, Michael
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Sundström, Anna
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Effects of perceived long-term stress on health and memory functioning2010In: Abstracts of the Psychonomic Society, 2010, p. 78-78Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The study examined effects of perceived long-term stress on health and memory functioning in middle-aged individuals (40–60 years). Participants in the Betula study (Nilsson et al., 1997) describing themselves as being stressed in general over three measurement occasions (10 years in total) were compared with a matched (sex and education) group (n = 98) reporting no stress. The results revealed a higher incidence of depressive symptoms, flus, and not-healthy-ratings over time for the stress group. In addition, the stress group provided more negative subjective memory ratings, whereas time-related change in memory performance, indicative of a high degree of cognitive stability, did not differ from that of controls. Degree of perceived stress is discussed as a factor underlying variations in regard to the outcome of studies of perceived stress.

  • 2.
    Eriksson Sörman, Daniel
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    The influence of social relationships and leisure activity on adult cognitive functioning and risk of dementia: Longitudinal population-based studies2015Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    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.

  • 3.
    Eriksson Sörman, Daniel
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Hansson, Patrik
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Rönnlund, Michael
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Blood Pressure Levels and Longitudinal Changes in Relation to Social Network Factors2016In: Psychological Topics, ISSN 1332-0742, Vol. 25, no 1, p. 59-73Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The aim of this study was to examine the relationship between social network variables and levels of and longitudinal changes in blood pressure in a middle-aged/older sample. The participants (50-75 years at baseline; n=1097) responded to questions concerning social relationships at baseline and their blood pressure (diastolic, systolic) was measured. Blood pressure levels were reassessed 5, 10, and 15 years later. Latent growth models with responses to questions concerning social relationships as predictors and basic demographic factors (age, sex) as covariates, unexpectedly indicated that a more limited social network (no close friend, few visits, little contact with friends in other ways, not living with someone, and a composite index based on all questions) was associated with significantly lower diastolic blood pressure levels. For systolic blood pressure a similar result was observed for one of the variables (lack of a close friend). In general, these effects diminished over time, as indexed by the positive relationship between several of the social variables and slope. The results were little affected by inclusion of additional covariates (e.g. measures of psychological distress, smoking/alcohol habits, and BMI) suggesting that the origins of this unexpected pattern of findings must probably be sought for in other subjectrelated factors, such as, for example, increased help seeking. Future studies should consider qualitative aspects (e.g. feelings of loneliness, quality of social relationships) in addition to structural aspects to provide a better understanding of these associations.

  • 4.
    Eriksson Sörman, Daniel
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Josefsson, Maria
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Demographic and Ageing Research (CEDAR).
    Marsh, John Everett
    Hansson, Patrik
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Ljungberg, Jessica K.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Longitudinal effects of bilingualism on dual-tasking2017In: PLoS ONE, ISSN 1932-6203, E-ISSN 1932-6203, Vol. 12, no 12, article id e0189299Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    An ongoing debate surrounds whether bilinguals outperform monolinguals in tests of executive processing. The aim of this study was to investigate if there are long-term (10 year) bilingual advantages in executive processing, as indexed by dual-task performance, in a sample that were 40-65 years at baseline. The bilingual (n = 24) and monolingual (n = 24) participants were matched on age, sex, education, fluid intelligence, and study sample. Participants performed free-recall for a 12-item list in three dual-task settings wherein they sorted cards either during encoding, retrieval, or during both encoding and retrieval of the word-list. Free recall without card sorting was used as a reference to compute dual-task costs. The results showed that bilinguals significantly outperformed monolinguals when they performed card-sorting during both encoding and retrieval of the word-list, the condition that presumably placed the highest demands on executive functioning. However, dual-task costs increased over time for bilinguals relative to monolinguals, a finding that is possibly influenced by retirement age and limited use of second language in the bilingual group.

  • 5.
    Eriksson Sörman, Daniel
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Körning Ljungberg, Jessica
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Rönnlund, Michael
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Reading Habits Among Older Adults in Relation to Level and 15-Year Changes in Verbal Fluency and Episodic Recall2018In: Frontiers in Psychology, ISSN 1664-1078, E-ISSN 1664-1078, Vol. 9, article id 1872Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The main objective of this study was to investigate reading habits in older adults in relation to level and 15-year changes in verbal fluency and episodic recall. We examined a sample of 1157 participants (55 years at baseline) up to 15 years after the baseline assessment using latent growth curve modeling of cognitive measures with baseline reading frequency (books, weekly magazines) as a predictor of cognitive level (intercept) and rate of change (slope). Subgroup analyses were performed to investigate the role of an early adult g factor in the association between reading habits and cognitive ability in midlife. Frequent reading of books, but not of magazines, was associated with higher levels of verbal fluency and recall but unrelated to rate of longitudinal decline. Subgroup analyses indicated that the g factor in early adulthood predicted reading and cognitive level in midlife and this factor removed the current association between reading habits and level of cognitive ability (both cognitive factors). The results indicate an enduring relationship between book reading and level of cognitive ability across the adult life span and provide little support of the hypothesis that frequent reading protects against latelife cognitive decline. The extent to which book reading promotes cognitive functioning in childhood/youth remains to be demonstrated. Intervention studies may be useful in this regard.

  • 6.
    Eriksson Sörman, Daniel
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Rönnlund, Michael
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Ger en aktiv livsstil bättre minne?2011In: Svensk Idrottsforskning: Organ för Centrum för Idrottsforskning, ISSN 1103-4629, Vol. 20, no 1, p. 43-45Article in journal (Other academic)
    Abstract [sv]

    Det sägs ibland att aktivteter som stimulerar hjärnan förbättrar minnet. En rad studier indikerar också att olika typer av livsstilsfaktorer hänger samman med prestation i kognitiva test. De visar att dålig minnesförmåga är överrepresenterad hos dem som inte ägnar sig åt fritidsaktiviteter såsom att läsa, idrotta och lägga pussel.

  • 7.
    Eriksson Sörman, Daniel
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Rönnlund, Michael
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Sundström, Anna
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology. Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Population Studies (CPS).
    Adolfsson, Rolf
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Clinical Sciences, Psychiatry.
    Nilsson, Lars-Göran
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Umeå Centre for Functional Brain Imaging (UFBI). Aging Research Center (ARC), Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden .
    Social relationships and risk of dementia: a population-based study2015In: International psychogeriatrics, ISSN 1041-6102, E-ISSN 1741-203X, Vol. 27, no 8, p. 1391-1399Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Background: The objective was to examine whether aspects of social relationships in old age are associated with all-cause dementia and Alzheimer's disease (AD).

    Methods: We studied 1,715 older adults (≥ 65 years) who were dementia-free at baseline over a period of up to 16 years. Data on living status, contact/visit frequency, satisfaction with contact frequency, and having/not having a close friend were analyzed using Cox proportional hazards regressions with all-cause dementia or AD as the dependent variable. To control for reverse causality and to identify potential long-term effects, we additionally performed analyses with delayed entry.

    Results: We identified 373 incident cases of dementia (207 with AD) during follow-up. The variable visiting/visits from friends was associated with reduced risk of all-cause dementia. Further, a higher value on the relationships index (sum of all variables) was associated with reduced risk of all-cause dementia and AD. However, in analyses with delayed entry, restricted to participants with a survival time of three years or more, none of the social relationship variables was associated with all-cause dementia or AD.

    Conclusions: The results indicate that certain aspects of social relationships are associated with incident dementia or AD, but also that these associations may reflect reverse causality. Future studies aimed at identifying other factors of a person's social life that may have the potential to postpone dementia should consider the effects of reverse causality.

  • 8.
    Eriksson Sörman, Daniel
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Rönnlund, Michael
    Sundström, Anna
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Nilsson, L-G
    Leisure-time activity in old age as predictors of impending dementia: A 15-year prospective study.2012Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This study examined the relationship between leisure activities and risk of dementia in a sample of healthy older individuals, dementia free at the beginning of the project. Data were drawn from a population-based longitudinal study (the Betula project) and the participants were followed up for 15 years. At baseline, participants were asked about their frequency of participation in 15 selected leisure activities. When age, gender, education, APOE and other potential confounders were controlled for, results revealed quite moderate effects on dementia after analysis of the activities separately. However, by weighting each activity into a mental, social and physical dimension (based on valuation by the participants), and then summarizing into a score for each dimension, we further investigated if level of engagement could predict impending dementia. Preliminary results indicate that the dimensions may have influence on the risk of dementia for certain age groups. The study also showed that the strongest predictor of dementia is being a carrier of the APOE ɛ4 allele. The outcomes are discussed in terms of important methodological difference between studies concerning the effects of leisure activities in preventing dementia diseases.

  • 9.
    Eriksson Sörman, Daniel
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Sundström, Anna
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology. Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Population Studies (CPS).
    Rönnlund, Michael
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Adolfsson, Rolf
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Clinical Sciences, Psychiatry.
    Nilsson, Lars-Göran
    Department of Psychology, Stockholm University, Sweden .
    Leisure Activity in Old Age and Risk of Dementia: a 15-Year Prospective Study2014In: The journals of gerontology. Series B, Psychological sciences and social sciences, ISSN 1079-5014, E-ISSN 1758-5368, Vol. 69, no 4, p. 493-501Article in journal (Refereed)
    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.

  • 10.
    Hansson, Patrik
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Eriksson Sörman, Daniel
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Bergdahl, Jan
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology. Institute of Clinical Dentistry, UIT The Arctic Universityof Norway, Tromsø, Norway.
    Bergdahl, Maud
    Nyberg, Lars
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Radiation Sciences, Diagnostic Radiology.
    Adolfsson, Rolf
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Clinical Sciences, Psychiatry.
    Nilsson, Lars-Goran
    Dental status is unrelated to risk of dementia: a 20-year prospective study2014In: Journal of The American Geriatrics Society, ISSN 0002-8614, E-ISSN 1532-5415, Vol. 62, no 5, p. 979-981Article in journal (Refereed)
  • 11.
    Ljungberg K., Jessica
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Hjärtström, Hanna
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Sörman, Daniel
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    The Impact of Emotional Deviant Sounds on Emoji Faces in a Sustained Attention Task2016Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    The involuntary shift of attention to emotional sounds were investigated in a cross-modal oddball task in which participants categorized angry and disappointed emoji faces. Prior to each face, a standard tone was presented (80% of trials) or a deviant “disappointed” or a buzzing “angry” sound (20% of trials). The deviant trials were either congruent (e.g., disappointed sound/disappointed emoji) or incongruent trials (e.g., a disappointed sound/angry emoji). Results showed that the emotional content of the deviant sounds interacted with the processing of the faces, but that the effect was only present in the congruent trials. Participants showed deviance distraction (prolonged response times compared to standard) in the disappointed trials and facilitation (no deviance distraction) in the angry deviant trials. The facilitation (or lack of distraction) caused by the angry deviant sound in the congruent trial may have been a result of an arousal effect due to the processing of threat.

  • 12.
    Nyström, Markus B.T.
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Eriksson Sörman, Daniel
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Nilsson, Lars-Göran
    Stockholm University.
    Is Cognitive Functioning Important for Quality in Ageing?2014In: Abstracts of the Psychonomic Society, 2014, p. 87-87Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Well-being and happiness are two important aspects of quality in ageing. By using a large scale memory data base (the Betula study) the importance of cognitive status (episodic memory) for an individual’s subjective notion of well-being and happiness were investigated, both among middle- and old aged individuals. When a number of factors where controlled for (e.g., physical health, psycho-social aspects), results indicated no relationships between cognitive status and well-being or happiness, in any age group. However, data suggested that subjective experience of memory capacity seems to play an important role. Further, being married, having low levels of stress, and not having sleeping problems, also seem to be associated with both well-being and happiness. The result suggests that other factors, rather than cognitive status, plays a substantial roll in the quality of ageing. Future studies would benefit from using longitudinal data to be able to investigate these relationships over time.

  • 13.
    Nyström, Markus
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology. The Graduate School in Population Dynamics and Public Policy, Umeå university.
    Eriksson Sörman, Daniel
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Kormi-Nouri, Reza
    School of Law, Psychology and Social Work, Örebro University, Örebro, Sweden.
    Rönnlund, Michael
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    To what extent is subjective well-being in late adulthood related to subjective and objective memory functioning?: Five-year cross-lagged panel analyses2017In: Aging & Mental Health, ISSN 1360-7863, E-ISSN 1364-6915Article in journal (Refereed)
  • 14.
    Nyström, Markus
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Eriksson Sörman, Daniel
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Rönnlund, Michael
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Is cognitive functioning important for quality in aging?: A five year follow-up study of older adults  2015In: Psychonomic Society’s 56th Annual Meeting, Chicago, Illinois, USA, November 19-22 2015, Madison, USA: The Psychonomic Society , 2015, p. 92-Conference paper (Refereed)
  • 15.
    Röhlcke, Sebastian
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Bäcklund, Christian
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Eriksson Sörman, Daniel
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Jonsson, Bert
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Time on task matters most in video game expertise2018In: PLoS ONE, ISSN 1932-6203, E-ISSN 1932-6203, Vol. 13, no 10, article id e0206555Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In this study, we investigated whether working memory capacity (WMC), personality characteristics (grit) and number of matches played (time on task) can predict performance score (matchmaking rating [MMR]) in experienced players of a popular video game called Dota 2. A questionnaire and four online-based cognitive tasks were used to gather the data, and structural equation modelling (SEM) was used to investigate the interrelationships between constructs. The results showed that time on task was the strongest predictor of MMR, and grit also significantly influenced performance. However, WMC did not play a substantial role in predicting performance while playing Dota 2. These results are discussed in relation to sample characteristics and the role of deliberate practice and skill acquisition within the domain of playing Dota 2. Further, we suggest that future research investigates the social aspects of attaining skill, the relationship between personality and performance, and the qualitative aspects of time spent on a task.

  • 16.
    Rönnlund, Michael
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Sundström, Anna
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology. Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Population Studies (CPS).
    Eriksson Sörman, Daniel
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Nilsson, Lars-Goran
    Effects of Perceived Long-Term Stress on Subjective and Objective Aspects of Memory and Cognitive Functioning in a Middle-Aged Population-Based Sample2013In: The Journal of Genetic Psychology, ISSN 0022-1325, E-ISSN 1940-0896, Vol. 174, no 1, p. 25-41Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The longitudinal effects of perceived stress on measures of memory and two other cognitive functions (word fluency, visuospatial ability) in a middle-aged sample (4060 years, M age = 47.1 years, SD = 6.1 years; n = 192) were examined. A group describing themselves as stressed in general at baseline, and at follow-up measurement 5 and 10 years later (n = 96) was compared with a matched (age, sex) low-stress group (n = 96). The results revealed more depressive symptoms over time in the high-stress group. With regard to memory, a dissociation between subjective and objective measures was observed. Specifically, participants in the high-stress group rated their memory as worse over time as compared with controls, and reported a higher frequency of occurrence of everyday memory failures, effects partly independent of depressive symptoms. However, the groups did not differ in terms of objective episodic memory performance, word fluency or block design performance, with stable levels of performance over time regardless of perceived stress. The lack of effects of stress on cognitive performance is discussed in the light of factors such as stress level, age of the participants, and other individual difference factors.

  • 17.
    Schéle, Ingrid
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Hauer, Esther
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Holmström, Stefan
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Lundkvist, Erik
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Stenling, Andreas
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Eriksson Sörman, Daniel
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Tafvelin, Susanne
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    The interrelationships between individual, contextual and processual constructs and stress and wellbeing among psychologists2014Conference paper (Refereed)
  • 18.
    Sörman, Daniel
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Ljungberg K., Jessica
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Hansson, Patrik
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Adolfsson, Rolf
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Clinical Sciences.
    Nilsson, Lars-Göran
    Psykologiska institutionen, Stockholms universitet.
    Language skills and risk of dementia: a population-based study2015Conference paper (Other academic)
  • 19.
    Sörman Eriksson, Daniel
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Rönnlund, Michael
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Sundström, Anna
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology. Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Demographic and Ageing Research (CEDAR).
    Norberg, Margareta
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Epidemiology and Global Health. Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Demographic and Ageing Research (CEDAR).
    Nilsson, Lars-Göran
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Umeå Centre for Functional Brain Imaging (UFBI). Aging Research Center (ARC), Karolinska Institutet, 113 30 Stockholm, Sweden.
    Social network size and cognitive functioning in middle-aged adults: cross-sectional and longitudinal associations2017In: Journal of Adult Development, ISSN 1068-0667, E-ISSN 1573-3440, Vol. 24, no 2, p. 77-88Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The objective of the present study was to examine relations between social network size and three cognitive abilities (episodic memory, semantic memory, visuospatial ability) in middle-aged adults. We analyzed cross-sectional data on social network size and cognitive functioning that were available for 804 participants aged 40–60 years. In addition, we examined 5- and 10-year follow-up measurements of cognitive functioning that were available for 604 and 255 participants, respectively. Cross-sectional analyses revealed a positive association between social network size and each of the three cognitive abilities. Baseline network size was positively related to 5-year changes in semantic memory, and to 10-year changes in semantic as well as episodic memory, but was unrelated to changes in visuospatial performance. A minor portion of the sample (n = 131) had 10-year follow-up data on network size. Cross-lagged panel correlations revealed that baseline network size was associated with follow-up measurement in cognitive functioning (episodic memory, semantic memory), whereas baseline cognitive performance was unrelated to future network size. Together, the results demonstrate a small but positive relation between network size and declarative memory abilities, in line with models proposing a cognitive reserve built up by factors such as the increased cognitive stimulation associated with a more extensive social network.

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