Occupational cognitive requirements and late-life cognitive aging

Lindsay R. Pool*, Jennifer Weuve, Robert S. Wilson, Ute Bültmann, Denis A. Evans, Carlos F. Mendes De Leon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Objective: To examine whether occupational cognitive requirements, as a marker of adulthood cognitive activity, are associated with late-life cognition and cognitive decline. Methods: Main lifetime occupation information for 7,637 participants aged >65 years of the Chicago Health and Aging Project (CHAP) was linked with standardized data on worker attributes and job characteristics from the Occupational Information Network (O-NET). Ratings of cognitive processes required in 10 work-related tasks were used to create a summary measure of occupational cognitive requirements (possible range 0-7). Multivariable-adjusted linear mixed models were used to estimate the association of occupational cognitive requirements score (OCRS) with cognitive function and rate of cognitive decline. Results: Higher OCRS corresponded to significantly better late-life cognitive performance at baseline in 1993 (p < 0.001) and to slower decline in global cognitive function over time (p 0.004). Within a genotyped subsample (n 4,104), the associations of OCRS with rate of cognitive decline did not differ significantly by APOE ϵ4 carriership (p 0.11). Conclusions: Findings suggest that occupational cognitive requirements are associated with better cognition and a slower rate of cognitive decline in older age. Adulthood cognitive activity may contribute to cognitive reserve in late life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1386-1392
Number of pages7
Issue number15
StatePublished - Apr 12 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology

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