Cognitive Function in the Community Setting: The Neighborhood as a Source of “Cognitive Reserve”?
Published Date:Apr 22 2011
Source:J Epidemiol Community Health. 66(8):730-736.
Health Status Indicators
Interviews As Topic
Pubmed Central ID:PMC3387518
Funding:K01EH000286-01/EH/NCEH CDC HHS/United States
R01 AG018418/AG/NIA NIH HHS/United States
R01 AG027010/AG/NIA NIH HHS/United States
R01 AG027010-03/AG/NIA NIH HHS/United States
R01 HD050467/HD/NICHD NIH HHS/United States
R01 HD050467-03/HD/NICHD NIH HHS/United States
R01AG027010/AG/NIA NIH HHS/United States
R01HD050467/HD/NICHD NIH HHS/United States
R24 HD041028/HD/NICHD NIH HHS/United States
Existing research has found a positive association between cognitive function and residence in a socioeconomically advantaged neighborhood. Yet, the mechanisms underlying this relationship have not been empirically investigated. This study tests the hypothesis that neighborhood socioeconomic structure is related to cognitive function partly through the availability of neighborhood physical and social resources (e.g. recreational facilities, community centers and libraries), which promote cognitively beneficial activities such as exercise and social integration.
Using data from a representative survey of community-dwelling adults in the City of Chicago (N = 949 adults age 50 and over) we assessed cognitive function with a modified version of the Telephone Interview for Cognitive Status (TICS) instrument. Neighborhood socioeconomic structure was derived from US Census indicators. Systematic Social Observation was used to directly document the presence of neighborhood resources on the blocks surrounding each respondent’s residence.
Using multilevel linear regression, residence in an affluent neighborhood had a net positive effect on cognitive function after adjusting for individual risk factors. For white respondents, the effects of neighborhood affluence operated in part through a greater density of institutional resources (e.g. community centers) that promote cognitively beneficial activities such as physical activity. Stable residence in an elderly neighborhood was associated with higher cognitive function (potentially due to greater opportunities for social interaction with peers), but long term exposure to such neighborhoods was negatively related to cognition.
Neighborhood resources have the potential to promote “cognitive reserve” for adults who are aging in place in an urban setting.
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