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Social networks and social activities promote cognitive functioning in both concurrent and prospective time: evidence from the SHARE survey

  • Autori: Miceli, Silvana; Maniscalco, Laura; Matranga, Domenica
  • Anno di pubblicazione: 2019
  • Tipologia: Articolo in rivista (Articolo in rivista)
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The study aimed to investigate the role of social activities, social networks as well as socioeconomic status (SES) in influ-encing some aspects of cognitive functioning (immediate and delayed verbal recall tests and semantic verbal fluency) in elderly people over time. This analysis was conducted on a sample of 31,954 healthy elderly people (58% female, mean age 65.54 ± 9.74) interviewed in both the fourth and sixth waves of the Survey on Health, Aging and Retirement in Europe (SHARE), in 2011 and 2015. A structural equation model with measurement component was used to assess the relation-ship between cognitive function, social life and SES over time. Multilevel ordinal logistic regression was applied to explain satisfaction with social network in relation to different types of social network across countries. Being equipped with good cognitive skills did not seem to be predictive of their maintenance over time (latent coefficient = 0.24, p value = 0.34). On the contrary, the subject’s social and participatory life, understood as satisfying one’s social network and engaging in diversi-fied non-professional social activities, seemed to play a crucial role in the maintenance of cognitive functions in the elderly (latent coefficient = 3.5, p value = 0.03). This research suggests that a socially active and participatory lifestyle mitigates the effects of the physiological process of brain aging.