Social support, social strain, and cognitive function among community-dwelling U.S. Chinese older adults

Shaoqing Ge, Bei Wu, Donald E. Bailey, Xin Qi Dong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: Limited research is available on the relationship between social support, social strain, and cognitive function among community-dwelling U.S. Chinese older adults. This study aims to examine the associations between social support/strain and cognitive outcomes. Methods: Data were drawn from the Population-Based Study of Chinese Elderly (N = 3,159). Cognitive function was measured by a battery of tests including the East Boston Memory Test, the Digit Span Backwards assessment, and the Symbol Digit Modalities Test. Social support and strain were measured by the scales drawn from the Health and Retirement study. Multiple regression analyses were conducted. Results: Social support was significantly associated with global cognitive function (β = .11, SE = .02, p < .001), episodic memory (β = .11, SE = .03, p < .001), working memory (β = .18, SE = .08, p < .05), and executive function (β = 1.44, SE = .37, p < .001). Social strain was significantly associated with global cognitive function (β = .23, SE = .05, p < .001), episodic memory (β = .27, SE = .07, p < .001), working memory (β = .34, SE = .17, p < .05), and executive function (β = 2.75, SE = .85, p < .01). In terms of sources of social support/strain, higher support from friends was significantly associated with higher global cognitive function (β = .04, SE = .02, p < .05), higher episodic memory (β = .05, SE = .02, p < .05), and higher executive function (β = .71, SE = .29, p < .05). Higher strain from spouse was significantly associated with higher global cognitive function (β = .10, SE = .03, p < .01), higher episodic memory (β = .11, SE = .04, p < .01), and higher executive function (β = 1.28, SE = .49, p < .01). Higher strain from friends was significantly associated with higher executive function (β = 3.59, SE = 1.17, p < .01). Conclusions: Social support and strain were associated with cognitive outcomes. Future longitudinal studies should be conducted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S16-S21
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences
Volume72
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2017

Keywords

  • Cognitive function
  • Minority aging
  • Social strain
  • Social support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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