Gender-stratified analyses reveal longitudinal associations between social support and cognitive decline in older men

Sarah Pillemer, Emmeline Ayers, Roee Holtzer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


Objectives: Research has extensively examined the relationship between social support and health outcomes in older adults. Little is known, however, about the longitudinal associations between distinct dimensions of perceived social support and incident cognitive decline. The current longitudinal study examined whether dimensions of perceived social support were associated with increased risk of cognitive decline, and if the relationship differed by gender. Methods: 493 community-residing non-demented older adults were assessed for baseline social support via the Medical Outcomes Study-Social Support Survey (MOS-SSS). Incident cognitive impairment was determined using a 1 standard deviation below age and education adjusted total score on the Repeatable Battery for the Assessment of Neuropsychological Status Cox proportional-hazard models were used to analyze incident risk of cognitive impairment. Results: Higher perceived support, overall and in specific domains, at baseline was associated with increased risk of incident cognitive impairment. Further gender-stratified analyses revealed that higher perceived support at baseline was associated with increased risk of incident cognitive impairment only among males. Conclusion: Contrary to previous research, results from this longitudinal study suggest that perceived support might be an important risk factor for cognitive decline, notably in males, and should be integrated into multifactorial risk assessment and intervention procedures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1326-1332
Number of pages7
JournalAging and Mental Health
Issue number10
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019



  • Social support
  • gender
  • neuropsychological assessment
  • social networks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Phychiatric Mental Health
  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

Cite this