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Feelings of Hopelessness in Midlife and Cognitive Health in Later Life: A Prospective Population-Based Cohort Study
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Aging Research Center (ARC), (together with KI).
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Aging Research Center (ARC), (together with KI).
Number of Authors: 4
2015 (English)In: PLoS ONE, ISSN 1932-6203, E-ISSN 1932-6203, Vol. 10, no 10, e0140261Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background Several studies have found depression and depressive feelings to be associated with subsequent dementia. As dementias typically have a long preclinical development phase, it has been difficult to determine whether depression and depressive feelings reflect a concurrent underlying dementia disease, rather than playing a causative role. Our aim was to investigate hopelessness, one dimension of depressive feelings, and evaluate the likelihood of a prodromal versus a causative role of hopelessness feelings in dementia development. Methods We invited a random sample of 2000 survivors from a representative population in Eastern Finland, originally investigated in midlife between 1972 and 1987, for re-examination an average of 21 years later. The age of the 1449 persons who accepted the invitation was between 39 and 64 years (mean 50.4 years) in midlife and between 65 and 80 (mean 71.3) at follow-up. To measure feelings of hopelessness in midlife and at follow-up, the participants indicated their level of agreement to two statements about their own possible future. We used logistic regression to investigate the association between the combined scores from these two items and cognitive health at follow-up, while adjusting for several health and life-style variables from midlife and for apolipoprotein E4 (ApoE4) status, depression and hopelessness feelings at follow-up. We compared the associations with late-life cognitive health when feelings of hopelessness were either measured in midlife or at the follow-up. In addition we analyzed the changes in hopelessness scores from midlife to follow-up in participants who were either cognitively healthy or impaired at follow-up. Results We found higher levels of hopelessness in midlife, but not at follow-up, to be associated with cognitive impairment at follow-up; the adjusted odds ratio for each step of the five-level hopelessness scale was 1.30 (95% confidence interval 1.11-1.51) for any cognitive impairment and 1.37 (1.05-1.78) for Alzheimer's disease. These associations remained significant also after the final adjustments for depressive feelings and for hopelessness at follow-up. The individual changes in hopelessness scores between midlife and follow-up were not systematically related to cognitive health at the follow-up. Conclusion Our results suggest that feelings of hopelessness already in midlife may have long-term implications for cognitive health and increase the risk of Alzheimer's disease in later life.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 10, no 10, e0140261
National Category
Gerontology, specializing in Medical and Health Sciences Psychiatry
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-122930DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0140261ISI: 000362962300075OAI: diva2:871613
Available from: 2015-11-16 Created: 2015-11-11 Last updated: 2015-11-16Bibliographically approved

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Gerontology, specializing in Medical and Health SciencesPsychiatry

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