Psychiatry Investig.  2018 Jan;15(1):70-77. 10.4306/pi.2018.15.1.70.

Education as a Protective Factor Moderating the Effect of Depression on Memory Impairment in Elderly Women

Affiliations
  • 1Department of Psychology, Seoul National University, Seoul, Republic of Korea. jychey@snu.ac.kr
  • 2Department of Public Health Medical Services, Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, Seongnam, Republic of Korea.

Abstract


OBJECTIVE
The cognitive reserve theory explicates individual differences observed in the clinical manifestation of dementia despite similar brain pathology. Education, a popular proxy of the cognitive reserve, has been shown to have protective effects delaying the onset of clinical symptoms including memory. This study was conducted to test whether education can moderate the negative effect of depressive mood on memory performance in elderly women residing in the community.
METHODS
29 elderly "unschooled" female (less than 6 years of formal education) and 49 "schooled" female (6 or more years) people were compared with regard to association between depressive mood and verbal memory functioning, which were measured by the Geriatric Depression Scale and the Elderly Verbal Learning Test, respectively.
RESULTS
The results showed that completing or receiving more than primary school education significantly reduced the negative association between depressive mood and memory performance. Participants who did not complete primary schooling showed a decline in memory test scores depending on the level of depressive mood; whereas participants who have completed or received more than primary education displayed relatively stable memory function despite varying level of depressive mood.
CONCLUSION
Our findings imply that education in early life may have protective effects against memory impairment related to elderly depression.

Keyword

Cognitive aging; Cognitive reserve; Dementia; GDS; EVLT

MeSH Terms

Aged*
Brain
Cognitive Aging
Cognitive Reserve
Dementia
Depression*
Education*
Female
Humans
Individuality
Memory*
Pathology
Protective Factors*
Proxy
Verbal Learning
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