Socioeconomic Position Across the Life Course and Cognitive Ability Later in Life: The Importance of Considering Early Cognitive Ability

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Else Foverskov, Erik Lykke Mortensen, Anders Holm, Jolene Lee Masters Pedersen, Merete Osler, Rikke Lund

OBJECTIVE: Investigate direct and indirect associations between markers of socioeconomic position (SEP) across the life course and midlife cognitive ability while addressing methodological limitations in prior work.

METHOD: Longitudinal data from the Danish Metropolit cohort of men born in 1953 ( N = 2,479) who completed ability tests at age 12, 18, and 56-58 linked to register-based information on paternal occupational class, educational attainment, and occupational level. Associations were assessed using structural equation models, and different models were estimated to examine the importance of accounting for childhood ability and measurement error.

RESULTS: Associations between adult SEP measures and midlife ability decreased significantly when adjusting for childhood ability and measurement error. The association between childhood and midlife ability was by far the strongest.

DISCUSSION: The impact of adult SEP on later life ability may be exaggerated when not accounting for the stability of individual differences in cognitive ability and measurement error in test scores.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Aging and Health
Volume31
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)947-966
Number of pages20
ISSN0898-2643
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

ID: 193665077