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Effects of death within 11 years on cognitive performance in old age.
Rabbitt, P., WATSON, P., Donlan, C., Mcinnes, L., Horan, M., Pendleton, N. & Clague, J.
Psychology & Aging, 17(3), 468-481
Year of publication:
Six different cognitive tests and the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) were given to 3,572 active community residents aged 49 to 93 years. Causes of death were ascertained for 443 who died between 36 and 3,903 days later. Subsequent survival predicted test scores during the 3,903 days and independently during Days 36 to 1,826 and Days 1,827 to 3,903. Scores on the BDI and cumulative verbal learning and vocabulary tests predicted mortality after demographics and performance on other cognitive tests had been considered. Predictors were similar for deaths from heart disease, malignancies, and other causes. A new finding that cognitive tests did not predict survival duration within the sample of deceased explains previous findings of greater terminal decline in performance for young than for elderly adults.