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, 3 (1), 170-91

Everyday Problem Solving and Instrumental Activities of Daily Living: Support for Domain Specificity


Everyday Problem Solving and Instrumental Activities of Daily Living: Support for Domain Specificity

Kristopher J Kimbler. Behav Sci (Basel).


Research suggests that performance on cognitive tasks resembling daily challenges (i.e., everyday problem-solving tasks) may be a better indicator of functional ability in old age compared to traditional measures of cognitive ability. Findings demonstrating this link, however, have yielded mixed results. The current study examined performance on the Everyday Problems Test (EPT) and self-reported ability to perform Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs) in a sample of adults over age 50. The EPT measures cognitive performance on tasks with domains consistent with IADLs (telephone use, shopping, meal preparation, housekeeping, transportation, health and finances). Although overall EPT scores and self-reported IADLs were significantly related (rs = 0.20; p < 0.05), additional analyses revealed that domain-specific EPT performance related to IADL reports within the same domain for shopping, meal preparation, housekeeping, and financial management after accounting for other variables such as age, sex, and measures of cognitive ability including total EPT score. These findings suggest that domain-specific performance on cognitive everyday problem-solving tasks may add to the predictability of specific IADLs.

Keywords: cognitive aging; everyday problem solving; instrumental activities of daily living.

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