Availability of Cognitive Resources in Early Life Predicts Transitions Between Cognitive States in Middle and Older Adults From Europe

Nathan A Lewis*, Tomiko Yoneda, René J F Melis, Daniel K Mroczek, Scott M Hofer, Graciela Muniz-Terrera

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: The existing literature highlights the importance of reading books in middle-to-older adulthood for cognitive functioning; very few studies, however, have examined the importance of childhood cognitive resources for cognitive outcomes later in life.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: Using data from 11 countries included in the Survey of Health, Ageing, and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) data set ( N  = 32,783), multistate survival models (MSMs) were fit to examine the importance of access to reading material in childhood on transitions through cognitive status categories (no cognitive impairment and impaired cognitive functioning) and death. Additionally, using the transition probabilities estimated by the MSMs, we estimated the remaining years of life without cognitive impairment and total longevity. All models were fit individually in each country, as well as within the pooled SHARE sample.

RESULTS: Adjusting for age, sex, education, and childhood socioeconomic status, the overall pooled estimate indicated that access to more books at age 10 was associated with a decreased risk of developing cognitive impairment (adjusted hazard ratio = 0.79, confidence interval: 0.76-0.82). Access to childhood books was not associated with risk of transitioning from normal cognitive functioning to death, or from cognitive impairment to death. Total longevity was similar between participants reporting high (+1 standard deviation [ SD]) and low (-1 SD) number of books in the childhood home; however, individuals with more access to childhood books lived a greater proportion of this time without cognitive impairment.

DISCUSSION AND IMPLICATIONS: Findings suggest that access to cognitive resources in childhood is protective for cognitive aging processes in older adulthood.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)igad124
JournalInnovation in Aging
Issue number9
Early online date26 Oct 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 26 Oct 2023


Dive into the research topics of 'Availability of Cognitive Resources in Early Life Predicts Transitions Between Cognitive States in Middle and Older Adults From Europe'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this