Does older adults' cognition particularly suffer from stress? A systematic review of acute stress effects on cognition in older age

Greta Mikneviciute*, Nicola Ballhausen, Ulrike Rimmele, Matthias Kliegel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleScientificpeer-review

2 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

This literature review provides the first comprehensive qualitative and quantitative systematic synthesis of acute laboratory stress effects on older adults' cognition by specifying the direction and magnitude of those effects both overall and for different cognitive processes separately. A systematic literature search was performed, and effect sizes estimated whenever possible. We found meta-analytical evidence that stress has negative effects on older adults' verbal fluency (gadj = -0.53 (95% CI [-2.70, 1.63]), null-to-negative effects on episodic memory (gadj = -0.26 (95% CI [-0.44, -0.08]), null effects on executive functions (gadj = 0.07 (95% CI [-0.31, 0.46]), and enhancing effects on working memory (gadj = 0.16 (95% CI [-0.01, 0.33]). Relating these findings to those in young adults, notable differences emerged for some cognitive functions, such as opposing effects on working memory between age groups. Our review further reveals that stress effects on older adults' memory retention, associative memory, prospective memory, interference control or cognitive flexibility are heavily understudied. We provide a conceptual and methodological framework for future studies in older adults.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)583-602
JournalNeuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews
Volume132
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Keywords

  • Acute stress
  • Aging
  • Episodic memory
  • Stress and cognition
  • TSST
  • Working memory

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Does older adults' cognition particularly suffer from stress? A systematic review of acute stress effects on cognition in older age'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this