Sex/gender and socioeconomic differences in modifiable risk factors for dementia

Sci Rep. 2023 Jan 3;13(1):80. doi: 10.1038/s41598-022-27368-4.


Both sex/gender and socioeconomic differences have been reported in the prevalence of modifiable risk factors for dementia. However, it remains unclear whether the associations between modifiable risk factors for dementia and incident dementia differ by sex/gender or socioeconomic status. This study aimed to investigate sex/gender and socioeconomic differences in the associations of modifiable risk factors with incident dementia using a life-course perspective. We used data from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (2008/2009 to 2018/2019). A total of 8,941 individuals were included [mean (standard deviation) age, 66.1 ± 9.8 years; 4,935 (55.2%) were women]. No overall sex/gender difference in dementia risk was found. Dementia risk was higher among those who experienced childhood deprivation [hazard ratio (HR) = 1.51 (1.17; 1.96)], lower occupational attainment [HR low versus high = 1.60 (1.23; 2.09) and HR medium versus high = 1.53 (1.15; 2.06)], and low wealth [HR low versus high = 1.63 (1.26; 2.12)]. Though different associations were found among the subgroups, there might be a sex/gender difference in dementia risk only for low cognitive activity, suggesting a higher risk for women [HR = 2.61 (1.89; 3.60)] compared to men [HR = 1.73 (1.20; 2.49)]. No consistent socioeconomic differences in modifiable dementia risk were found. A population-based approach that tackles inequalities in dementia risk profiles directly may be more effective than individual approaches in dementia prevention.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aging
  • Child
  • Dementia* / epidemiology
  • Dementia* / etiology
  • Dementia* / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Social Class*
  • Socioeconomic Factors