Occupational complexity and lifetime cognitive abilities

Emily L. Smart, Alan J Gow, Ian J Deary

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Objective:To examine associations between complexity of main lifetime occupation and cognitive performance in later life.Methods:Occupational complexity ratings for data, people, and things were collected from the Dictionary of Occupational Titles for 1,066 individuals (men = 534, women = 532) in the Lothian Birth Cohort 1936. IQ data were available from mean age 11 years. Cognitive ability data across the domains of general ability, processing speed, and memory were available at mean age 70 years.Results:General linear model analyses indicated that complexity of work with people and data were associated with better cognitive performance at age 70, after including age 11 IQ, years of education, and social deprivation.Conclusions:The current findings are supportive of the differential preservation hypotheses that more stimulating environments preserve cognitive ability in later life, although the continued effects into old age are still debated. Studies that have early-life cognitive ability measures are rare, and the current study offers interesting prospects for future research that may further the understanding of successful aging.

    LanguageEnglish
    Pages2285-2291
    Number of pages7
    JournalNeurology
    Volume83
    Issue number24
    DOIs
    StatePublished - 9 Dec 2014

    Fingerprint

    Aptitude
    Systems Analysis
    Occupations
    Linear Models
    Parturition
    Education

    Keywords

    • OLDER WORKERS
    • AGE
    • DEMENTIA
    • RESERVE
    • INTELLIGENCE
    • STIMULATION
    • PERFORMANCE

    Cite this

    Smart, Emily L. ; Gow, Alan J ; Deary, Ian J. / Occupational complexity and lifetime cognitive abilities. In: Neurology. 2014 ; Vol. 83, No. 24. pp. 2285-2291
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    Smart, EL, Gow, AJ & Deary, IJ 2014, 'Occupational complexity and lifetime cognitive abilities' Neurology, vol. 83, no. 24, pp. 2285-2291. DOI: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000001075

    Occupational complexity and lifetime cognitive abilities. / Smart, Emily L.; Gow, Alan J; Deary, Ian J.

    In: Neurology, Vol. 83, No. 24, 09.12.2014, p. 2285-2291.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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    AU - Smart,Emily L.

    AU - Gow,Alan J

    AU - Deary,Ian J

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    PY - 2014/12/9

    Y1 - 2014/12/9

    N2 - Objective:To examine associations between complexity of main lifetime occupation and cognitive performance in later life.Methods:Occupational complexity ratings for data, people, and things were collected from the Dictionary of Occupational Titles for 1,066 individuals (men = 534, women = 532) in the Lothian Birth Cohort 1936. IQ data were available from mean age 11 years. Cognitive ability data across the domains of general ability, processing speed, and memory were available at mean age 70 years.Results:General linear model analyses indicated that complexity of work with people and data were associated with better cognitive performance at age 70, after including age 11 IQ, years of education, and social deprivation.Conclusions:The current findings are supportive of the differential preservation hypotheses that more stimulating environments preserve cognitive ability in later life, although the continued effects into old age are still debated. Studies that have early-life cognitive ability measures are rare, and the current study offers interesting prospects for future research that may further the understanding of successful aging.

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    KW - RESERVE

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    KW - STIMULATION

    KW - PERFORMANCE

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    Smart EL, Gow AJ, Deary IJ. Occupational complexity and lifetime cognitive abilities. Neurology. 2014 Dec 9;83(24):2285-2291. Available from, DOI: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000001075