Social support mediates the relationships between extraversion, neuroticism, and cognitive function in older adults

J E McHugh Power, B A Lawlor, F Kee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
340 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: We supplement existing findings on a link between social support and cognitive function in later life by considering the role of personality as an antecedent to both, and of social support as a mediator of the link between personality and cognitive function.

STUDY DESIGN: An observational cohort study.

METHODS: We evaluated social support using the Lubben Social Network Scale, across 624 adults aged over 60 years, and investigated this measure as a mediator of the relationships between extraversion and neuroticism at baseline 2007-2009, and cognitive function at follow-up, 2 years later. A half-longitudinal mediation design, within a structural equation modelling framework, was used.

RESULTS: There was a direct effect of extraversion, such that lower levels were related to higher scores of cognitive function. There was no significant direct effect of neuroticism on cognitive function at follow-up. Social support partially mediated the paths between both extraversion and neuroticism and cognitive function at follow-up. Decomposing the mediation effects by using social support subscales (measuring support from friends, relatives and neighbours) showed meaningful indirect effects for both predictors.

CONCLUSION: Results suggest that social support may offer a target for interventions for cognitively at-risk older adults and add to the existing empirical evidence describing the link between personality and cognitive function.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)144-152
Number of pages9
JournalPublic Health
Volume147
Early online date08 Apr 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2017

Keywords

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Cognition
  • Cohort Studies
  • Extraversion (Psychology)
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuroticism
  • Personality
  • Social Support
  • Journal Article

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