To examine whether the educational level moderates the relationship between baseline depressive symptoms and cognitive functioning at 5- and 10-year follow-ups in older adults, considering the association between cognitive functioning and difficulty with activities of daily living (ADL).
Using a prospective design, a path analysis was performed. Setting: In-home, face-to-face interviews and self-administered questionnaires, within the National Social Life, Health, and Aging Project.
In total, 1,461 participants (mean age = 66.62) were followed up from Wave 1 (baseline) to Wave 2 (at 5 years) and Wave 3 (at 10 years). Measurements: Depressive symptoms were assessed at baseline. Cognitive functioning and difficulty with ADL were assessed at baseline and at 5 and 10 years.
Educational level moderates the relationship between depressive symptoms and cognitive functioning at 5 years (β = 0.07, SE = 0.03, p = 0.04, Cohen's f 2 = 0.02), being depressive symptoms related to poor cognitive functioning only at low educational levels. Cognitive functioning predicts difficulty with ADL at 5 and 10 years (β = -0.08, SE = 0.03, p = 0.008, Cohen's f 2 = 0.01; β = -0.09, SE = 0.03, p = 0.006, Cohen's f 2 = 0.02). The proposed model yielded excellent fit (CFI = 1.00, RMSEA = 0.0001, 90% CI 0.0001-0.03, SRMR = 0.004, and χ2(8) = 7.16, p = 0.52).
Cognitive reserve may act as a protective factor against the effect of depressive symptoms on cognition in older adults, which, in turn, is relevant to their functional independence.
- AGING PROJECT NSHAP
- CEREBRAL ATROPHY
- NATIONAL SOCIAL-LIFE
- activities of daily living (ADL)
- cognitive impairment
- depressive symptoms