Social support availability is positively associated with memory in persons aged 45–85 years: A cross-sectional analysis of the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging
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OBJECTIVES: This study examines the association between a modifiable psychosocial factor, social support availability (SSA), and the memory domain of cognitive function in persons aged 45-85 years. METHODS: We used baseline data from the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA) (n = 21,241) to conduct multiple linear regression analyses of the association between SSA (overall and four subscales) and memory. The CLSA assessed immediate and delayed recall memory using the Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test (RAVLT). RESULTS: Higher levels of each type of SSA were positively associated with better performance on both immediate and delayed recall memory. The largest associations (β coefficients [95% confidence intervals]) for z-score differences on the RAVLT were observed for overall SSA (immediate: 0.07 [0.04-0.10]; delayed recall: 0.06 [0.02-0.09]) and the emotional/informational subscale (immediate: 0.06 [0.03-0.09]; delayed recall: 0.05 [0.02-0.08]). CONCLUSION: SSA is modifiable and positively associated with memory. Public health initiatives to provide support resources such as material aid, emotional support, or companionship may entail positive benefits for memory. Promotion of SSA is also important for policies encouraging early diagnosis and intervention in dementia.
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