ISSN 1895-4316
Monday, 27.05.2019
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PHiE 2019, 100(1)

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Probl Hig Epidemiol 2019, 100(1): 66-73pl

Concerning the positive influence of life activity (cognitive reserves) on cognitive functions in adults

Ewa Szepietowska

Zakład Psychologii Klinicznej i Neuropsychologii, Instytut Psychologii UMCS w Lublinie

Introduction. Cognitive reserve (CR), understood as accumulated experience and knowledge explains cognitive efficiency in adulthood and old age. A higher level of CR leads to better functioning in later periods of life.
Aim. The aim of the study was to clarify whether: 1. people with different levels of CR differ in terms of cognitive functioning, severity of depression and other sociodemographic parameters; 2. whether and what are the connections between CR and cognitive functions and 3. whether CR, severity of depression and age determine cognitive performance.
Materials & methods. 120 people aged between 40 and 84 (57.42±10.48) participated in the study. The CR indicator was the number of points respondents obtained in a survey taking into account the intensity of their professional, social, educational and physical activity. Based on the result, 2 groups were distinguished: those with lower and higher levels of CR. These groups were compared in terms of cognitive performance, sense of cognitive difficulties and intensity of depression. The statistical analyses took into account the relationship between CR, intensity of depression and age, as well as the results of cognitive tests/tasks.
Results. People with a higher level of CR were characterized by higher cognitive performance, lower depression intensity, younger age and a lesser sense of cognitive difficulties. In the group with a lower level of CR, cognitive performance was negatively affected by age and/or level of depression. Those with a higher level of CR are characterized by better cognitive functioning due to the fact that their cognitive reserves reduce the negative impact of depression and age on cognitive functions.
Conclusions. A higher CR level supports cognitive functioning in adulthood and old age. It is therefore worth promoting the improvement of CR components conducive to satisfaction in the aging process.

Key words:  cognitive reserve, adulthood, aging, cognitive functioning