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Engaged lifestyle and episodic and semantic memory: longitudinal studies from the betula project
Örebro University, School of Law, Psychology and Social Work.
2012 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This dissertation examines whether some aspects of engaged lifestyle, marital status and leisure activity, influence memory performance in adulthood and old age. Direct effects and indirect effects, via health, are investigated. All the studies in the dissertation examine participants in the Betula project, aged 35 to 85 years. Study I investigates whether there are reliable effects of marital status on memory function in a large sample of participants in adulthood and old age. The results demonstrate that marriage has an influence on some specific types of memory functions. They show that there are significant differences between married and single individuals in episodic memory, but not in semantic memory. Also, the extent of decline in episodic memory was found to be significantly larger for singles and widowed individuals than for married people over five years. Study II examines the relationships between different types of social and cognitive activities and episodic and semantic memory. The results show that a unidirectional effect of social activity on episodic memory was detectable on all test occasions. Also, episodic memory predicted change in cognitive activity during all test waves. However, there were no significant effects with regard to semantic memory and leisure activity in either direction. Study III explores longitudinally whetherengaged lifestyle, including marriage and leisure activity, directly affects memory performance, or whether the effect is mediated by health. The overall results demonstrate that marriage predicts episodic memory function directly. Leisure activity can also predict episodic memory performance ten years later, but indirectly via health. An active and engaged lifestyle can protect people against memory decline. The positive impact of engaged lifestyle on memory performance is discussed in terms of cognitive reserve theory, and in relation to the decrease in distress afforded by social support from other people.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Örebro: Örebro universitet , 2012. , 76 p.
Series
Örebro Studies in Psychology, ISSN 1651-1328 ; 26
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-26141ISBN: 978-91-7668-894-6 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-26141DiVA: diva2:559487
Public defence
2012-11-30, Hörsal L3, Långhuset, Fakultetsgatan 1, Örebro, 10:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2012-10-09 Created: 2012-10-09 Last updated: 2017-10-17Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. The effects of marital status on episodic and semantic memory in healthy middle-aged and old individuals
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The effects of marital status on episodic and semantic memory in healthy middle-aged and old individuals
2012 (English)In: Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, ISSN 0036-5564, E-ISSN 1467-9450, Vol. 53, no 1, 1-8 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The present study examined the influences of marital status on different episodic and semantic memory tasks. A total of 1882 adult men and women participated in a longitudinal project (Betula) on memory, health and aging. The participants were grouped into two age cohorts, 35–60 and 65–85, and studied over a period of 5 years. Episodic memory tasks concerned recognition and recall, whereas semantic memory tasks concerned knowledge and fluency. The results showed, after controlling for education, some diseases, chronological age and leisure activity as covariates, that there were significant differences between married and single individuals in episodic memory, but not in semantic memory. Married people showed significantly better memory performances than singles in both subsystems of episodic memory, that is, recall and recognition. Also, the rate of decline in episodic memory was significantly larger for singles and widowed than other groups over the 5-year time period in both age groups. The findings demonstrate that the positive relation found between marriage and health can be extended to the relation between marriage and cognitive performance. This effect might be explained by the role played by cognitive stimulation in memory and cognition.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Wiley-Blackwell, 2012
Keyword
Marital status, age, episodic memory, semantic memory
National Category
Psychology (excluding Applied Psychology)
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-21629 (URN)10.1111/j.1467-9450.2011.00926.x (DOI)000298949400001 ()22092006 (PubMedID)2-s2.0-84855808080 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2012-02-14 Created: 2012-02-14 Last updated: 2017-12-07Bibliographically approved
2. Examination of the bidirectional influences of leisure activity and memory in old people: a dissociative effect on episodic memory
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Examination of the bidirectional influences of leisure activity and memory in old people: a dissociative effect on episodic memory
2014 (English)In: British Journal of Psychology, ISSN 0007-1269, E-ISSN 2044-8295, Vol. 105, no 3, 382-398 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The present study examined the relationships between different types of activities, cognitive and social, and episodic memory and semantic memory. A total of 794 adult men and women from five age cohorts (aged 65-85 at baseline), participating in the longitudinal Betula project on aging, memory, and health, were included in the study. The participants were studied over 10 years (1995-2005) in threes waves. Recognition and recall were used as episodic memory tasks, and knowledge and verbal fluency as semantic memory tasks. The results, after controlling for age, gender, education and some diseases, including heart disease and hypertension, as covariates, showed unidirectional effects of social activity on episodic memory on all test occasions (β = .10). Also, episodic memory predicted change in cognitive activity for all test waves (β = .21-.22). The positive role of social activity on memory function is discussed in terms of cognitive reserve theory, and the reduction of stress. It also seems that episodic memory performance is a predictor of cognitive activity in old people. However, the opposite direction does not hold true.

Keyword
Episodic memory, semantic memory, social activity, cognitive activity
National Category
Psychology (excluding Applied Psychology)
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-26554 (URN)10.1111/bjop.12044 (DOI)000339437100006 ()25040007 (PubMedID)2-s2.0-84904071137 (Scopus ID)
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2001-6654, 2002-3794 and 2003-3883
Available from: 2012-11-30 Created: 2012-11-30 Last updated: 2017-12-07Bibliographically approved
3. Engaged lifestyle and episodic memory performance: health as a mediator
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Engaged lifestyle and episodic memory performance: health as a mediator
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Objectives. In this study, we test the roles of two important aspects of engaged lifestyle – marriage and leisure activity – in episodic memory performance. The direct effects of these variables on episodic memory performance and their mediating effects via health were examined.

Methods. A total of 1149 participants were recruited from the Betula longitudinal study on aging, memory, and health. The effects of engaged lifestyle and health on memory were investigated longitudinally to determine whether they could predict memory function in later life. Accordingly, data were taken from three waves at 5-year intervals: marital status and leisure activity from Wave 1 (1993-1995), health from Wave 2 (1998-2000), and episodic memory performance from Wave 3 (2003-2005).

Results. From using structural regression modeling (SRM), it was found that married people showed better memory performance 10 years on than single and widowed people. Further, leisure activity also predicted episodic memory performance 10 years on, but indirectly via health. Conclusion. We conclude that an engaged lifestyle that includes marriage and leisure activity is an important determinant of memory function, and can protect people from memory decline. Although this effect may be direct, the mediating effect of health should also be considered. Theoretically, we discuss whether an engaged lifestyle protects people from memory decline in accordance with cognitive reserve theory, and decreases stress by increasing the availability of social support.

National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-26555 (URN)
Available from: 2012-11-30 Created: 2012-11-30 Last updated: 2017-10-17Bibliographically approved

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