Home > Publications . Search All . Browse All . Country . Browse PSC Pubs . PSC Report Series

PSC In The News

RSS Feed icon

Pfeffer says housing bubble masked decade-long growth in household net worth inequality

House, Burgard, Schoeni et al find that unemployment and recession have contrasting effects on mortality risk

Smock says cohabitation does not reduce odds of marriage

Highlights

Jeff Morenoff makes Reuters' Highly Cited Researchers list for 2014

Susan Murphy named Distinguished University Professor

Sarah Burgard and former PSC trainee Jennifer Ailshire win ASA award for paper

James Jackson to be appointed to NSF's National Science Board

Next Brown Bag


PSC Brown Bags will return in the fall

Childhood Socioeconomic Position and Cognitive Function in Adulthood

Publication Abstract

Kaplan, George A., G. Turrell, John W. Lynch, S.A. Everson, E.K. Helkala, and J.T. Salonen. 2001. "Childhood Socioeconomic Position and Cognitive Function in Adulthood." International Journal of Epidemiology, 30: 256-263.

Background Risk of dementia and Alzheimer's disease is higher among adults with limited education, and the less educated perform poorer on cognitive function tests. This study determines whether the socioeconomic environment experienced during childhood has an impact on cognitive functioning in middle age.

Methods A population-based study of eastern Finnish men (n = 496) aged 58 and 64 for whom there were data on parent's socioeconomic position (SEP), their own education level, and performance on neuropsychological tests. Cognitive function was measured using the Trail Making Test, the Selective Reminding Test, the Verbal Fluency Test, the Visual Reproduction Test, and the Mini Mental State Exam.

Results We found a significant and graded association between parental SEP (combined as an index) and cognitive function both prior to and after adjustment for respondent's education. Those from more disadvantaged backgrounds exhibited the poorest performance. When the separate components of the parental SEP measure were used, father's occupation and mother's education were independently associated with the respondent's score for three and five of the tests, respectively (there was no association with father's education and mother's occupation). After adjustment for the respondent's education, father's occupation was no longer associated with respondent's test score, however, the results were essentially unchanged for mother's education.

Conclusions Higher SEP during childhood and greater educational attainment are both associated with cognitive function in adulthood, with mothers and fathers each contributing to their offspring's formative cognitive development and later life cognitive ability (albeit in different ways). Improvements in both parental socioeconomic circumstances and the educational attainment of their offspring could possibly enhance cognitive function and decrease risk of dementia later in life.

Browse | Search : All Pubs | Next