Biopsychosocial Correlates of Subjective Cognitive Decline and Related Worry in the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging

Gerontology. 2023;69(1):84-97. doi: 10.1159/000524280. Epub 2022 May 9.


Introduction: Subjective cognitive decline (SCD), a self-reported decline in cognition in otherwise cognitively healthy people, has been acknowledged as a risk factor for Alzheimer's disease. Using data from the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA), a large national study with participants' ages of 45-85 years at baseline, we sought to identify correlates of SCD and SCD-related worry.

Methods: In our primary analysis using a Poisson regression model, associations between biopsychosocial variables and SCD were identified (analytic sample: n = 21,920). In a second analysis using an ordinal regression model, associations between biopsychosocial variables and SCD-related worry were identified (analytic sample: n = 12,694).

Results: Multiple risk and protective factors of cognitive decline were not associated with SCD within our sample (i.e., physical activity, hypertension, vision problems), as well as minority stress variables such as sexual orientation and race. Rather, psychosocial variables (i.e., depression, perceived social status, and personality traits) showed a more consistent association with SCD within the sample. Greater SCD-related worry, which is believed to increase the risk of future dementia, was associated with specific personality traits, depression, age, gender, and sexuality.

Conclusion: The results from this study confirm the association between multiple health variables and SCD but also emphasize the importance of considering psychological and social factors when conceptualizing SCD and its risk factors.

Keywords: Aging; Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging; Cognition; Psychosocial variables; Subjective cognitive decline.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / psychology
  • Alzheimer Disease* / psychology
  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Cognitive Dysfunction* / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Neuropsychological Tests

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