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Occupational cognitive complexity and episodic memory in old age
Department of Health, Education, and Technology, Luleå University of Technology, Sweden.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology. Department of Sport Science and Physical Education, University of Agder, Norway.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-0834-1040
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology. Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Demographic and Ageing Research (CEDAR). Research and Development Unit, Sundsvall Hospital, Region Västernorrland, Sundsvall, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3606-3057
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5726-4101
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2021 (English)In: Intelligence, ISSN 0160-2896, E-ISSN 1873-7935, Vol. 89, article id 101598Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The aim of this study was to investigate occupational cognitive complexity of main lifetime occupation in relation to level and 15-year change in episodic memory recall in a sample of older adults (≥ 65 years, n = 780). We used latent growth curve modelling with occupational cognitive complexity (O*NET indicators) as independent variable. Subgroup analyses in a sample of middle-aged (mean: 49.9 years) men (n = 260) were additionally performed to investigate if a general cognitive ability (g) factor at age 18 was predictive of future occupational cognitive complexity and cognitive performance in midlife. For the older sample, a higher level of occupational cognitive complexity was related to a higher level of episodic recall (β = 0.15, p < .001), but the association with rate of change (β = 0.03, p = .64) was not statistically significant. In the middle-aged sample, g at age 18 was both directly (β = 0.19, p = .01) and indirectly (via years of education after age 18, ab = 0.19) predictive of midlife levels of occupational cognitive complexity. Cognitive ability at age 18 was also a direct predictor of midlife episodic recall (β = 0.60, p ≤ 0.001). Critically, entry of the early adult g factor attenuated the association between occupational complexity and cognitive level (from β = 0.21, p = .01 to β = 0.12, p = .14). Overall, our results support a pattern of preserved differentiation from early to late adulthood for individuals with different histories of occupational complexity.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2021. Vol. 89, article id 101598
Keywords [en]
Cognitive reserve, Episodic memory, Intelligence, Occupational cognitive complexity, Preserved differentiation
National Category
Psychology (excluding Applied Psychology)
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-189589DOI: 10.1016/j.intell.2021.101598ISI: 000720544800001Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85118684966OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-189589DiVA, id: diva2:1611876
Funder
Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation, 2014.0205Swedish Research Council, K2010-61X-21446-01, 2017-00273, 2007–2653Forte, Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare, 2013–2056Available from: 2021-11-16 Created: 2021-11-16 Last updated: 2023-09-05Bibliographically approved

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Stenling, AndreasSundström, AnnaRönnlund, MichaelHansson, Patrik

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