Developmental markers of time and associated moderators




Yao, Christie

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Background: The selection of a developmental time metric is useful in understanding causal processes that underlie cognitive change, and for the identification of potential moderators of cognitive decline. We examined various conceptualizations of developmental time (e.g., chronological age, measurement occasion, time-in-study, and time-to-attrition), and moderators of cognitive decline that are associated with CNS functioning (e.g., intraindividual variability and chronic health conditions). Methods: Participants were 304 community-dwelling Caucasian older adults (208 women and 96 men), aged 64 to 92 (M = 74.02, SD = 5.95) in a longitudinal study. HLM models were fit to examine patterns and moderators of cognitive change. Results: Time-to-attrition was associated with significant cognitive decline. Greater intraindividual variability, a behavioural indicator of CNS deficits, was associated with impaired performance on executive functioning and episodic memory measures. Conclusions: Our findings underscore the importance of selecting an appropriate time metric in order to address the possible causal mechanisms underlying the association between cognitive loss and selective attrition (i.e., CNS integrity).



memory, cognition, aging, intraindividual variability, chronic health conditions, cognitive decline