Relationship between activity types and cognitive and emotional functioning with advancing age.

Honnie Gorry (2017). Relationship between activity types and cognitive and emotional functioning with advancing age. Professional Doctorate, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland.

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Author Honnie Gorry
Thesis Title Relationship between activity types and cognitive and emotional functioning with advancing age.
School, Centre or Institute School of Psychology
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2017-03-08
Thesis type Professional Doctorate
Supervisor Professor Nancy Pachana
Total pages 135
Total black and white pages 135
Language eng
Subjects 1701 Psychology
170102 Developmental Psychology and Ageing
Abstract/Summary Abstract Background: The world is experiencing widespread population ageing with the proportion of people aged 60 years and over growing faster than any other age group (WHO, 2002). This demographic trend creates significant social and economic challenges to policy makers and has resulted in research imperatives to keep older adults independent in the community for as long as possible. Ageing is associated with cognitive disorders and neurodegenerative conditions (Keller, 2006; Bishop, Lu & Yankner, 2010). However, there is significant heterogeneity in this process, with different individuals experiencing varying degrees of age related declines (Christensen et al., 1999; Salthouse, 2004). This has resulted in research efforts to uncover modifiable factors that may attenuate cognitive and emotional decline and promote the successful ageing of older adults. The concept of activity underpinning successful ageing pervades current frameworks and models of health and wellbeing (WHO, 2002; Rowe & Kahn, 1997). Activity participation is central to the enhancement of functioning, health and the protection of disability as individual’s age and forms the basis for the current research. Study Aims: The primary aim of this study is to explore the relationship between activity types (i.e. cognitive, physical and social activity) and emotional and cognitive functioning in a large community based sample of women. A secondary aim is to investigate the relationship between age, education and perceived health on activity levels and cognitive and emotional functioning within this sample. Method: The participants were 357 randomly selected community dwelling women aged 40 to 79 years who participated in the Longitudinal Study of Women (LAW) at the Betty Byrne Henderson Women’s Health Research Centre within the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, Australia. Participants completed self-report questionnaires and underwent a detailed neuropsychological assessment of their executive functioning and memory. Results: Participation in cognitive activities predicted better cognitive functioning but physical and social activities did not significantly predict improved cognitive functioning after taking into account an individual’s participation in cognitive activities. Greater participation in social and physical activities were related to lower levels of depression but were unrelated to levels of anxiety. While participation in cognitive activities did not uniquely predict emotional functioning after taking into account an individual’s participation in social and physical activities. The findings also revealed that as people aged their participation in cognitive and physical activities declined, while their participation in social activities remained the same. Higher education levels were related to increased participation in cognitive and physical activities but not social activity. Better perceived health status was related to higher participation in social and physical activity but not cognitive activities. Conclusion: Different types of activities had varying relationships with cognitive and emotional functioning. The clinical implications of these results is that public health programs designed to optimise the wellbeing and successful ageing of adults should potentially advocate not only activity participation but stress the need for a repertoire of cognitive, social and physical activities to maximise the differential benefits that participation appears to exert on cognitive and emotional health. The findings also highlight risk factors for inactivity such as increasing age, lower perceived health and lower education levels. This will be particularly pertinent for cognitive and physical activities which are associated with declining participation rates as people age.
Keyword Ageing
Active ageing
Cognitive functioning
emotional functioning

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Created: Wed, 08 Mar 2017, 21:15:09 EST by Honnie Gorry on behalf of Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences