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

McHugh Power, Joanna E., Lawlor, Brian A. and Kee, F. (2017) Social support mediates the relationships between extraversion, neuroticism, and cognitive function in older adults. Public Health, 147. pp. 144-152. ISSN 0033-3506

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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.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > Psychology
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > Psychology > Cognition
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare > Welfare of older people
Divisions: School of Business > Staff Research and Publications
Related URLs:
Depositing User: CAOIMHE NI MHAICIN
Date Deposited: 10 Aug 2017 11:03
Last Modified: 17 Nov 2017 12:42
URI: http://trap.ncirl.ie/id/eprint/2572

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