Association of Social Support with Mild Cognitive Impairment and Dementia among Older Women: The Women's Health Initiative Memory Study

Alexander Ivan B. Posis, Natalie M. Yarish, Linda K. McEvoy, Purva Jain, Candyce H. Kroenke, Nazmus Saquib, Farha Ikramuddin, Peter F. Schnatz, John Bellettiere, Stephen R. Rapp, Mark A. Espeland, Aladdin H. Shadyab

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Social support may be a modifiable risk factor for cognitive impairment. However, few long-term, large prospective studies have examined associations of various forms of social support with incident mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and dementia. Objective: To examine associations of perceived social support with incident MCI and dementia among community-dwelling older women. Methods: This prospective cohort study included 6,670 women from the Women's Health Initiative Memory Study who were cognitively unimpaired at enrollment. We used Cox proportional hazards models to assess associations between perceived social support with incident MCI, dementia, or either MCI/dementia during an average 10.7 (SD=6.1)-year follow-up. Modelling was repeated for emotional/information support, affection support, tangible support, and positive social interaction subscales of social support. Results: Among 6,670 women (average age=70 years [SD=3.8]; 97.0% non-Hispanic/Latina; 89.8% White), greater perceived social support was associated with lower risk of MCI/dementia after adjustment for age, ethnicity, race, hormone therapy, education, income, diabetes, hypertension, and body mass index (Tertile [T]3 versus T1: HR=0.85, 95% CI 0.74-0.99; ptrend=0.08). Associations were significant for emotional/information support (T3 versus T1: HR=0.84, 95% CI 0.72-0.97; ptrend=0.04) and positive social interaction (T3 versus T1: HR=0.85, 95% CI 0.73-0.99; ptrend=0.06) subscales. Associations were attenuated and not significant after adjustment for depressive symptom severity. Objective: Perceived social support, emotional/information support, and positive social interaction were associated with incident MCI/dementia among older women. Results were not significant after adjustment for depressive symptom severity. Improving social support may reduce risk of MCI and dementia in older women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1107-1119
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease
Volume91
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by a National Institute on Aging, T32 Predoctoral Training Fellowship (T32 AG058529 to A.I.B.P.) and National Institute on Aging grant (RF1AG074345 to A.H.S). Dr. Kroenke’s time was supported by the American Cancer Society ACS Research Investigator Award RSG-16-167-01-CPPB and National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute Grants R01CA230440, R01CA253028. The WHI program is funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services through 75N92021D00001, 75N92021D00002, 75N92021D00003, 75N92021D00004, and 75N92021D00005. WHIMS was funded by the following: Wyeth-Ayerst Pharmaceuticals and National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) Contract No. HHSN-268-2004-6-4221C. WHIMS-ECHO was funded by the National Institute on Aging (NIA) Contract No. HHSN-271-2017-00002C.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 - IOS Press. All rights reserved.

Keywords

  • Cognitive aging
  • epidemiology
  • psychosocial
  • women's health

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

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