Sherry Willis

Sherry Willis
University of Washington Seattle | UW · Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

PhD

About

158
Publications
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Publications

Publications (158)
Article
Objective To assess domains of social determinants of health (SDoH) and their associations with cognition and quality of life. Method This investigation uses baseline data from individuals participating in the ACTIVE trial ( n = 2505) to reproduce the SDoH domains described in Healthy People 2030 (economic stability, health care, education, neighb...
Article
Objectives We examined associations between three geographic areas (urban, suburban, rural) and cognition (memory, reasoning, processing speed) over a 10-year period. Methods: Data were obtained from 2539 participants in the Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly (ACTIVE) trial. Multilevel, mixed-effects linear regression was...
Article
Objectives: Cognitive abilities have been implicated as predictors of mortality in older adults. This study examines the effects of cognitive training on mortality 20 years post-intervention. Methods: Data come from the Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly (ACTIVE) randomized control trial (N = 2802). Participants were cogn...
Article
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Society and developmental theory generally assume that there are wide generational differences in personality. Yet evidence showing historical change in the levels of adult Big Five traits is scarce and particularly so for developmental change. We tracked adult trajectories of personality in 4,732 participants (age: M = 52.93 years, SD = 16.69; 53%...
Article
Objectives: Few studies have examined differences in age of onset of first self-reported instrumental activities of daily living difficulty, much less differences by race. Our objective was to determine whether there are differences in the first reported difficulty with IADLs between Black and white older adults. Methods: We analyzed data from N =...
Chapter
In the next 30 years, there will be substantial changes in the older adult population in the United States. The number of older adults is predicted to double, and many older adults will live into advanced old age. In addition, racial and ethnic diversity in the aging population is increasing. The major aim of this chapter is to examine changes in c...
Article
Objective: Comprehensive neuropsychological criteria (NP criteria) for mild cognitive impairment (MCI) has reduced diagnostic errors and better predicted progression to dementia than conventional MCI criteria that rely on a single impaired score and/or subjective report. This study aimed to implement an actuarial approach to classifying MCI in the...
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Introduction: Instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs) are complex daily tasks important for independent living. Many older adults experience difficulty with IADLs as their physical and/or cognitive function begins to decline. However, it is unknown in what order IADLs become difficult. Methods: Participants from the Advanced Cognitive Train...
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Early investigations of the neuroticism by conscientiousness interaction with regards to health have been promising, but to date, there have been no systematic investigations of this interaction that account for the various personality measurement instruments, varying populations, or aspects of health. The current study – the second of three – uses...
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Current literature suggests that neuroticism is positively associated with maladaptive life choices, likelihood of disease, and mortality. However, recent research has identified circumstances under which neuroticism is associated with positive outcomes. The current project examined whether "healthy neuroticism", defined as the interaction of neuro...
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Individual differences in the Big Five personality traits have emerged as predictors of health and longevity. Although there are robust protective effects for higher levels of conscientiousness, results are mixed for other personality traits. In particular, higher levels of neuroticism have significantly predicted an increased risk of mortality, no...
Article
This study assessed change in self‐reported Big Five personality traits. We conducted a coordinated integrative data analysis using data from 16 longitudinal samples, comprising a total sample of over 60 000 participants. We coordinated models across multiple datasets and fit identical multi‐level growth models to assess and compare the extent of t...
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Human functioning and development are shaped by sociocultural contexts and by the historical changes that occur in these contexts. Over the last century, sociocultural changes such as increases in early life education have profoundly reshaped normative developmental sequences. In this article, we first briefly review how history-graded changes have...
Article
Studies of historical and societal influences on cognitive aging generally document that later-born cohorts outperform earlier-born cohorts on tests of fluid cognitive performance. It is often noted how advances in educational attainment in childhood and adolescence may contribute to these historical improvements in cognitive aging. Less is known a...
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Studies of historical change on cognitive aging generally document that later-born cohorts outperform earlier-born cohorts on tests of fluid cognitive performance. It is often noted how advances in educational attainment contribute to this finding. Over the last century, work demands and characteristics have changed profoundly, with shifts from a m...
Article
A growing body of research has examined whether people’s judgments of their own memory functioning accurately reflect their memory performance at cross-section and over time. Relatively less is known about whether these judgments are specifically based on memory performance, or reflect general cognitive change. The aim of the present study was to e...
Article
Background/rationale: Compensation strategies may contribute to greater resilience among older adults, even in the face of cognitive decline. This study sought to better understand how compensation strategy use among older adults with varying degrees of cognitive impairment impacts everyday functioning. Methods: In all, 125 older adults (normal...
Article
Methods: The Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly (ACTIVE) conceptual framework was empirically tested using structural equation modeling (N=2,802). ACTIVE was guided by a conceptual framework for cognitive training in which proximal cognitive abilities (memory, inductive reasoning, speed of processing) mediate treatment-r...
Preprint
This study assessed change in the Big Five personality traits. We conducted a coordinated integrative data analysis (IDA) using data from 14 studies including 47,190 respondents to examine trajectories of change in the traits of neuroticism, extraversion, openness, conscientiousness, and agreeableness. Coordinating models across multiple study site...
Article
Objectives: Careful characterization of how functional decline co-evolves with cognitive decline in older adults has yet to be well described. Most models of neurodegenerative disease postulate that cognitive decline predates and potentially leads to declines in everyday functional abilities; however, there is mounting evidence that subtle decline...
Preprint
This study examined the Big Five personality traits as predictors of mortality risk, and smoking as a mediator of that association. Replication was built into the fabric of our design: we used a Coordinated Analysis with 15 international datasets, representing 44,094 participants. We found that high neuroticism and low conscientiousness, extraversi...
Article
This study examined the Big Five personality traits as predictors of mortality risk, and smoking as a mediator of that association. Replication was built into the fabric of our design: we used a Coordinated Analysis with 15 international datasets, representing 44,094 participants. We found that high neuroticism and low conscientiousness, extraversi...
Article
We examined two facets of control beliefs and cognition over 10 years within the Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly study. Intellectual Self-Efficacy decreased (β = −0.32 units/year; SE = 0.03) and Concern About Intellectual Aging increased (β = 0.26 units/year; SE = 0.02) over time, with older age being the only predicto...
Article
It has long been proposed that cognitive aging in fluid abilities is driven by age-related declines of processing speed. Although study of between-person associations generally supports this view, accumulating longitudinal between-person and within-person evidence indicates less strong associations between speed and fluid cognitive performance. Ini...
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Racial disparities in cognitive outcomes may be partly explained by differences in locus of control. African Americans report more external locus of control than non-Hispanic Whites, and external locus of control is associated with poorer health and cognition. The aims of this study were to compare cognitive training gains between African American...
Article
A central aim of life-span psychology is to understand ontogenetic changes in the structure of individuals' actions, thoughts, and behaviors. The dedifferentiation hypothesis of cognitive aging suggests that the structure of individuals' cognitive abilities becomes less differentiated in old age. Empirical tests have almost exclusively approached t...
Article
Within the context of the Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly study (ACTIVE; Ball et al., 2002; Jobe et al., 2001; Willis et al., 2006), we examined the longitudinal association of baseline depressive symptoms on inductive reasoning performance over a 10-year period between the reasoning training and control conditions (N...
Article
We examined whether hypertension moderated the effects of apolipoprotein ε4 (APOE ε4) on individual differences in level and change in cognitive functions over a 21-year period using data from the Seattle Longitudinal Study (SLS). A total of 563 nondemented adults ages 32 to 74 years in 1984 (M = 51.06, SD = 12.03) were included in the study. Cogni...
Article
To determine the effects of cognitive training on cognitive abilities and everyday function over 10 years. Ten-year follow-up of a randomized, controlled single-blind trial (Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly (ACTIVE)) with three intervention groups and a no-contact control group. Six U.S. cities. A volunteer sample of 2,...
Article
To characterize change through 5-year follow-up, associated with training, booster, adherence, and other characteristics. Sample included all individuals randomly assigned to reasoning training (N = 699). Piecewise latent growth modeling was used to examine trajectory of performance on outcome measures. Training resulted in improved reasoning perfo...
Article
Although aging is associated with changes in brain structure and cognition it remains unclear which specific structural changes mediate individual cognitive changes. Several studies have reported that white matter (WM) integrity, as assessed by diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), mediates, in part, age-related differences in processing speed (PS). Ther...
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Objectives: Salthouse illustrated that among Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly (ACTIVE) participants, cognitive change accelerated following training. Our goal was to determine if this finding persists net of practice, training, and loss of training gains effects. Methods: We evaluated change over 5 years following co...
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Expands K. W. Schaie's 3-stage theory of cognitive development (1977–1978), that includes 3 adult stages, by specifying 2 additional stages for development occurring in the last 3rd of life: the reorganizational stage and the legacy-leaving stage. A rationale is also provided for the necessity of maintaining performance, at least above minimal thre...
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The present study used a coordinated analyses approach to examine the association of physical activity and cognitive change in four longitudinal studies. A series of multilevel growth models with physical activity included both as a fixed (between-person) and time-varying (within-person) predictor of four domains of cognitive function (reasoning, m...
Article
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Engagement in cognitively stimulating activities has been considered to maintain or strengthen cognitive skills, thereby minimizing age-related cognitive decline. While the idea that there may be a modifiable behavior that could lower risk for cognitive decline is appealing and potentially empowering for older adults, research findings have not con...
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Social activity is typically viewed as part of an engaged lifestyle that may help mitigate the deleterious effects of advanced age on cognitive function. As such, social activity has been examined in relation to cognitive abilities later in life. However, longitudinal evidence for this hypothesis thus far remains inconclusive. The current study sou...
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Objectives: This study examines cognitive outcomes for alcohol drinking status over time, across cognitive ability and age groups. Methods: Data (1998-2005) from n = 571 Seattle Longitudinal Study participants aged 45+years (middle-aged: 45-64, young-old: 65-75, old-old: 75+) were analyzed to examine the alcohol drinking status effect (e.g., abs...
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The present study sought to predict changes in everyday functioning using cognitive tests. Data from the Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly trial were used to examine the extent to which competence in different cognitive domains--memory, inductive reasoning, processing speed, and global mental status--predicts prospective...
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Life span researchers have long been interested in how and why fundamental aspects of human ontogeny differ between cohorts of people who have lived through different historical epochs. When examined at the same age, later born cohorts are often cognitively and physically fitter than earlier born cohorts. Less is known, however, about cohort differ...
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Development does not take place in isolation and is often interrelated with close others such as marital partners. To examine interrelations in spousal happiness across midlife and old age, we used 35-year longitudinal data from both members of 178 married couples in the Seattle Longitudinal Study. Latent growth curve models revealed sizeable spous...
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Data from the Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly (ACTIVE) trial (N = 2,802) were analyzed to examine whether word list learning predicts future everyday functioning. Using stepwise random effects modeling, measures from the modified administrations of the Hopkins Verbal Learning Test (HVLT) and the Auditory Verbal Learnin...
Article
This study examines whether midlife change in episodic memory predicts hippocampal volume in old age. From the Seattle Longitudinal Study we retrospectively identified 84 healthy, cognitively normal individuals, age 52 to 87, whose episodic memory had reliably declined (n = 33), improved (n = 28) or remained stable (n = 23) over a 14-year period in...
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We evaluated the effect of cognitive training among 1,534 participants in the Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly (ACTIVE) randomized controlled trial (RCT) on 5-year improvements in 3 cognitive-specific measures of locus of control-internal, chance, and powerful others. ACTIVE was a multisite RCT (age > or = 65), with 4 g...
Article
A better understanding of factors that affect cognition could lead to improved health and greater independence for older adults. We examined the association of four modifiable factors (leisure-time physical activity, leisure-time cognitive activity, self-directed work, and hypertension) with changes in two aspects of fluid intelligence (verbal memo...
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This paper is based on a presentation made during the Indiana Alzheimer Disease Center's Symposium on Mild Cognitive Impairment on April 19, 2008. The results of the ACTIVE study (Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly) were presented at the symposium including review of previously published study findings. The ACTIVE study i...
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The current study examines the prevalence of health risk behaviors and their cumulative effects on cardiovascular disease (CVD) among a sample of adults. Age cohort is also examined to determine the role of age in predicting CVD and risky health behaviors. Medical records of a sample of adults from the Seattle Longitudinal Study categorized into on...
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The factor structure and factorial invariance of the Quality of Life in Alzheimer's Disease (QoL-AD) Scale was investigated in a sample of 653 nondemented, community-dwelling older adults, ages 57 to 95 years (M = 71.62, SD = 8.86), from the Seattle Longitudinal Study. The total sample was split into two random halves to explore and confirm the str...
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To provide an overview of cognitive plasticity concepts and findings from a lifespan developmental perspective. After an evaluation of the general concept of cognitive plasticity, the most important approaches to study behavioral and brain plasticity are reviewed. This includes intervention studies, experimental approaches, cognitive trainings, the...
Article
Older adults, the primary consumers of prescription medications in the United States, may be particularly prone to medication side effects. The present study examined the relation between change in prescriptions and change in cognitive performance (i.e., inductive reasoning and everyday problem solving), as well as how three common classes of medic...
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Cognitive training improves mental abilities in older adults, but the trainability of persons with memory impairment is unclear. We conducted a subgroup analysis of subjects in the Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly (ACTIVE) trial to examine this issue. ACTIVE enrolled 2802 non-demented, community-dwelling adults aged 65...
Conference Paper
Aim: Identify health behavior risk factors (e.g. smoking, alcohol consumption, nutrition, exercise, seat belt use, dental care, medical care) for mortality. Methods: Seattle Longitudinal Study participants in the 1993 and 1998 waves were included (N=1064). All were residents of the greater Seattle, Washington area and recruited from their health ma...
Article
We investigated cognitive training effects on accuracy and number of items attempted in inductive reasoning performance in a sample of 335 older participants (M = 72.78 years) from the Seattle Longitudinal Study. We assessed the impact of individual characteristics, including chronic disease. The reasoning training group showed significantly greate...
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We examined the association of proximal and distal training gain to subsequent mental status ratings in 302 participants (M = 76.62 years) trained on inductive reasoning or spatial orientation in the Seattle Longitudinal Study. Only training effects on reasoning ability were predictive of mental status group membership. Participants subsequently ra...
Article
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Cognitive training has been shown to improve cognitive abilities in older adults but the effects of cognitive training on everyday function have not been demonstrated. To determine the effects of cognitive training on daily function and durability of training on cognitive abilities. Five-year follow-up of a randomized controlled single-blind trial...
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Research has demonstrated that older adults' cognitive performance can be enhanced via formal intervention, as well as more informal intervention including collaboration or working with a partner. The current study investigated the effects of an inductive reasoning training program adapted for in-home use among older adults assigned to individual t...
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This study examined the association of a performance-based measure of everyday functioning with clinically meaningful outcomes. Elderly participants in a prospective study of dementia were assessed at two occasions on the Everyday Problems Test for Cognitively Challenged Elderly (EPCCE), a performance-based measure of everyday functioning. Older ad...
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The authors explored health behavior change during 5 years, considering age/cohort, health status, and gender effects. The authors divided the sample (n = 1,064) into 4 age/cohort groups: young adults (n = 139; 19-42 years), middle-aged adults (n = 386; 43-62 years), young-old adults (n = 296; 63-72 years), and old-old adults (n = 243; 73+ years) a...
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The validity of health information obtained through participants' reports of current medications (e.g., the brown bag method) is an important, but under-studied, area. In the current study, we examined the congruence of medication reports from a brown bag data collection with the pharmacy prescription records for 1430 participants (ages 23 to 97 ye...
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A battery of 17 neuropsychological tests (including the CERAD battery) and 17 psychometric ability tests were administered to a sample of 499 participants of the Seattle Longitudinal study who had been given the psychometric ability tests seven and 14 years earlier. The neuropsychological tests were projected into a 5-factor psychometric ability sp...
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The Revised Observed Tasks of Daily Living (OTDL-R), a performance-based test of everyday problem solving, was administered to a sample of community-dwelling older adults. The OTDL-R included nine tasks, representing medication use, telephone use, and financial management. The OTDL-R had a desirable range of difficulty and satisfactory internal con...
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This article reviews key issues regarding the controversy on the direction and magnitude of cohort differences in intelligence. Data from the Seattle Longitudinal Study (SLS) illustrate why differences must be studied across multiple cohorts and multiple chronological ages. Differential cohort patterns for multiple dimensions of intelligence are de...
Article
Changes in strategic behavior were examined in older married couples participating in a cognitive intervention study. Participants were randomly assigned to: Questionnaire Control, Individual Training, or Collaborative Training. Trained participants completed inductive reasoning training sessions at home individually or as a couple. Participants we...
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This article reviews the history, measures and principal findings of the Seattle Longitudinal Study. This study began in 1956 focusing upon age differences and age changes in cognitive abilities. Its sampling frame is a large HMO in the Pacific Northwest. The study has been expanded to investigate various influences on cognitive aging including, co...