142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

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Education, Employment Status, Late-life Verbal Activities, and Cognition among Older Americans using Aging, Demographic, and Memory Study (ADAMS)

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Monday, November 17, 2014 : 10:42 AM - 10:54 AM

Yura Lee , School of Social Work, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
Iris Chi, DSW , School of Social Work, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA


Based on the cognitive reserve theory, relationships among education, employment status, and cognition have been found in many studies. However, there are only few studies specifically investigating the influence of late-life verbal activities (reading, writing, and discussing) on cognition, comparing those who are yet impaired with cognition vs. who are already in the process of cognitive deterioration. This study aims to examine aforementioned predictors on cognition; categorized into normal, cognitively impaired not demented (CIND) and demented given by the expert consensus panel.


The study employed a national sample of American older adults (70+) from the ‘Aging, Demographics, and Memory Study’. 702 respondents (Normal: 270, CIND: 190, Demented: 242) were included in the final analysis using multinomial logistic regression, controlling for age, sex, race, employment status, depression, perceived health, and ApoE genotype. CIND was treated as a reference group.  


Results showed that longer education years (OR=1.10, CI=1.02-1.17), current employment (OR=4.30, CI=1.55-11.94), and more engagement in verbal activities (OR=1.20, CI=1.11-1.31) increased the odds to be diagnosed with normal cognition than with CIND. On the other hand, education years and employment status were not significant predictor when comparing CIND vs. demented group. Only engagement in verbal activities decreased the odds (OR=0.70, CI=0.64-0.76) to be diagnosed with dementia than with CIND.


Findings suggest that late-life verbal activities are important for both normal and cognitively impaired group to prevent any or further deterioration while education and employment status were only significant for normal vs. CIND group. Different approaches will be required for implementation purposes on two groups.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Provision of health care to the public
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Discuss the relationship among education, late-life verbal activities, employment status and cognition among older Americans. Analyze using a national sample of the Aging, Demographics, and Memory Study(ADAMS).

Keyword(s): Dementia, Aging

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am currently working for research projects related with aging, especially focusing on the relationship between dementia risk and cognitive activities among older Americans. The major goal of the research is to address the issue of health disparities in cognitive aging. I have a previous experience presenting at APHA.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.