Associations Between Fine Motor Performance in Activities of Daily Living and Cognitive Ability in a Nondemented Sample of Older Adults: Implications for Geriatric Physical Rehabilitation

J Aging Health. 2017 Oct;29(7):1144-1159. doi: 10.1177/0898264316654674. Epub 2016 Jun 22.


Objective: Fine motor ability (FMA) is essential in certain activities of daily living (ADL) and is considered mostly as a component of physical function. We hypothesize that cognitive ability explains significant variance in ADL-related FMA, above and beyond what is explained by physical ability (grip strength).

Method: Origins of Variance in the Old Old Study (OCTO)-Twin participants ( n = 218), aged 80+ (dementia, stroke, Parkinson's disease excluded) were assessed on depressive symptoms (Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression Scale [CES-D]), a cognitive battery, grip strength, and FMA.

Results: In a series of ordinary least squares regression models, FMA was not associated with gender or depressive symptoms, but was associated with age (marginally; β = -.164, p = .051), grip strength (β = -.381, p < .01), and one cognitive measure, perceptual speed (β = -.249, p < .01).

Discussion: In nondemented older adults, cognitive speed predicts ADL-related FMA after controlling for age and physical ability. Physical rehabilitation of FMA in ADL tasks should consider the importance of cognitive ability, even in nondemented older adults.

Keywords: cognitive ability; disablement; fine motor ability; functional ability; grip strength.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living* / psychology
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cognition*
  • Depression / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Geriatric Assessment* / methods
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Parkinson Disease
  • Physical Functional Performance*
  • Registries
  • Rehabilitation*
  • Sweden