Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Title: Openness to experience and activity engagement: Protective factors against longitudinal decline in attention/executive functions and verbal memory in older adults
Authors: Holtzer, Roee
Weinberger, Andrea
Foley, Frederick
Mercuri, Giulia
Keywords: Aging
Clinical psychology
Issue Date: Jun-2021
Publisher: Yeshiva University
Citation: Mercuri, F. (2021, Openness to experience and activity engagement: Protective factors against longitudinal decline in attention/executive functions and verbal memory in older adults (Publication No. 30246121) [Doctoral dissertation, Yeshiva University]. PDTG
Series/Report no.: Ferkauf Dissertations;Publication No. 30246121
Abstract: Objective: Due to the interindividual variability in the rate of cognitive decline in the aging population, more work is needed to understand the biopsychosocial factors that may be differentially contributing to these cognitive changes. The current study examined whether the protective effect of Openness on the attenuated decline of Attention/Executive Functions (AEF) and verbal memory differed as a function of regular engagement in Cognitively Stimulating Activities (CSA) or Physically Stimulating Activities (PSA) over the course of five years. ¶ Participants and Methods: The sample included 538 cognitively healthy, community- dwelling older adults (mean age= 75.86 ± 6.44; %female= 55) enrolled in a longitudinal cohort study. Openness was assessed using the Big-5 Inventory. Activity engagement was assessed using the Leisure Activity Questionnaire. AEF was examined as a composite variable consisting of the Trail Making Test – Parts A & B, Controlled Oral Word Association Test – Letter and Semantic Fluencies, and the Digit Symbol Substitution Test. Verbal memory was examined as a composite variable consisting of various subtests from the Repeatable Battery for the Assessment of Neuropsychological Status (List Learning, Story Memory, List Recall, List Recognition, and Story Recall). ¶ Results: Adjusted linear mixed effects models revealed that higher baseline levels of Openness were not independently and significantly associated with attenuated declines in either AEF or verbal memory over time. CSA engagement did not moderate the associations between Openness and trajectories of cognitive decline. However, longitudinal associations of Openness with AEF and verbal memory significantly differed as a function of PSA engagement, such that the advantage of higher Openness on attenuating cognitive decline was more pronounced in those with higher PSA engagement, compared to those with lower PSA engagement. ¶ Conclusion: The results of the study are important as they supplement existing literature suggesting the advantages of increasing physical activity in older age as a potential avenue for attenuating cognitive decline. Physical activity is a promising intervention that is low-cost and widely accessible to the majority of adults given the wide continuum of activities and intensity levels inherent in its definition. The identification of individuals who are potentially at-risk for decline may allow for more targeted interventions focusing on physical activity earlier in the aging trajectory.
Description: Doctoral dissertation, PhD / YU only
ISBN: 9798368434308
Appears in Collections:Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology: Doctoral Dissertations

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
Mercuri Giulia_Dissertation Document Final_06-30-2021.pdf
  Restricted Access
1.1 MBAdobe PDFView/Open

This item is licensed under a Creative Commons License Creative Commons