Date of Award:

2006

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Family, Consumer, and Human Development

Advisor/Chair:

Maria C. Norton

Abstract

This thesis examined the life time exposure of women's employment on cognitive functioning and cognitive decline in late life.

From the Cache County Study on Memory, Health, & Aging data, a sample of 2,588 women, aged 65 and older gave retrospective occupational hi story and were screened using the Modified Mini-Mental Stale Exam at study entry and approximately 3 years later. Non-demented women were used.

Ordinary least squares regression was used cross-sectionally and longitudinally to test the association between cognitive complexity level of the longest job and baseline cognitive status, and rate of cognitive decline over approximately 3 years.

Cross-sectional analysis revealed never-employed homemakers to have cognitive status mid-range. Higher "dat a" complexity levels were significantly associated with higher cognitive status at base line net of education.

The results suggest some benefit of cognitively stimulating occupation to late-life functioning for women. Fw1her analyses with additional longitudinal cognitive testing in this population may enhance these findings.