Social network characteristics and cognition in middle-aged and older adults.

Department of Mental Health, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, 624 North Broadway, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA.
The Journals of Gerontology Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences (Impact Factor: 2.85). 12/2004; 59(6):P278-84. DOI: 10.1093/geronb/59.6.P278
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT We examined the relationship between social network characteristics and global cognitive status in a community-based sample of 354 adults aged 50+ and with Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) scores of 28+ at baseline. Multivariate analyses indicated that interaction in larger social networks related to better maintenance of MMSE scores and reduced odds of decline to population-based lower quartile MMSE scores at follow-up 12 years later. At follow-up, higher levels of interpersonal activity (more frequent contacts in larger social networks) and exposure to emotional support independently related positively to MMSE. The findings suggest that interaction in larger social networks is a marker that portends less cognitive decline, and that distinct associational paths link interpersonal activity and emotional support to cognitive function.

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