The influence of childhood intelligence, social class, education and social mobility on memory and memory decline in late life

R. T. Staff, M. J. Hogan, L. J. Whalley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In an observational longitudinal study of a sub-sample of the Aberdeen 1936 birth cohort, from age 62 to 77 years, we investigated childhood intelligence, social class, education, life-course social mobility, memory test performance and memory decline in late life. We examined 388 local residents who had attended school in Aberdeen in 1947 and measured Auditory-Verbal Learning Test (AVLT) at recruitment age about 64 years and up to five times until age about 77 years. Better performance at age about 64 on AVLT was predicted by early socioeconomic status (SES), social mobility and childhood intelligence. The trajectory of AVLT decline was steeper in those who had received less education. This relationship was independent of childhood ability, sex, SES in childhood and social mobility. The protection of memory by education suggests that education supports resilience to age-related cognitive impairment. Upward social mobility does not enhance this effect, suggesting that resilience to age-related decline may be established in early life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)847-852
Number of pages6
JournalAge and Ageing
Volume47
Issue number6
Early online date2 Aug 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2018

Keywords

  • memory decline
  • social class
  • education
  • social mobility
  • socioeconomic factors
  • childhood intelligence
  • older people

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ageing
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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