Demographic, health, cognitive, and sensory variables as predictors of mortality in very old adults

Psychol Aging. 2001 Mar;16(1):3-11. doi: 10.1037/0882-7974.16.1.3.


Cognitive and sensorimotor predictors of mortality were examined in the Australian Longitudinal Study of Ageing, controlling for demographic and health variables. A stratified random sample of 1,947 males and females aged 70 and older were interviewed, and 1,500 were assessed on measures of health, memory. verbal ability, processing speed, vision, hearing, and grip strength in 1992 and 1994. Analyses of incident rate ratios for mortality over 4- and 6-year periods were conducted using Cox hierarchical regression analyses. Results showed that poor performance on nearly all cognitive variables was associated with mortality, but many of these effects were explained by measures of self-rated health and disease. Significant decline in hearing and cognitive performance also predicted mortality as did incomplete data at Wave 1. Results suggest that poor cognitive performance and cognitive decline in very old adults reflect both biological aging and disease processes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Cognition Disorders / epidemiology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Demography
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Forecasting
  • Health Status*
  • Hearing Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Hearing Disorders / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mortality*
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Vision Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Vision Disorders / epidemiology