Background: The relationship between coping in mid- to late life and cognitive functions remains unclear.
Objective: To investigate the relationship between habitual coping behaviors of a large Japanese population in their mid- to late-lives and their risk of cognitive decline 15 years later.
Methods: Overall 1,299 participants were assessed for coping behaviors (in 2000) and cognition (2014-2015). We used the Stress and Coping Inventory to assess the frequency of six coping behaviors (i.e., consulting, planning, positive reappraisal, avoidance, fantasizing, and self-blame). Logistic regression analyses were conducted to examine odds ratios (ORs) for the diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment (MCI), MCI subtypes (single- and multiple-domain MCI), and dementia for coping behaviors.
Results: Among the eligible 1,015 participants (72.6 [SD = 5.5] years old in 2014-2015), the numbers for cognitively normal, single-domain MCI, multiple-domain MCI, and dementia were 650 (64.0%), 116 (11.4%), 213 (21.0%), and 36 (3.5%), respectively. Among the six coping behaviors, avoidant coping was significantly associated with noticeable cognitive decline (multiple-domain MCI and dementia). This association remained significant after adjusting for sex, age, education, diagnosis of current major depressive disorder, past history of ischemic heart disease, diabetes, regular alcohol consumption, and smoking (OR = 2.52, 95% CI = 1.23 to 5.15). No significant association with other coping behaviors was found.
Conclusion: Avoidant coping in mid- and late life is associated with cognitive decline among older people.
Keywords: Avoidance behavior; cognitive decline; cognitive dysfunction; coping behavior; coping strategy; dementia; mild cognitive impairment; mild cognitive impairment subtype; multiple-domain MCI; psychological adaptation.