Shubhankar Sharma , Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research
Jo Mhairi Hale, University of St Andrews
Importance: Research suggests that marital status and cognitive impairment are significantly associated. Yet, it remains unclear at what age various marital groups experience the onset of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and, relatedly, how long different marital groups live with and without cognitive impairment. This study is an attempt to answer these important research questions. Objective: To assess the burden of cognitive impairment by marital status in the US using two indicators- 1. mean age at onset of mild cognitive impairment and 2. life expectancy with and without cognitive impairment. Method: We analyzed data from the Health and Retirement Study (1998-2014). Respondents were aged 50 and over in 1998. We used information from self-respondents and proxies to assess cognition. Multinomial logistic models provided the transition probabilities, which were used to calculate the indicators for both genders. Results: The burden of cognitive impairment was lowest for people who were partnered. Partnered men and women experienced the oldest onset of mild cognitive impairment. Moreover, they lived highest number and percentage of years without cognitive impairment. Among the unmarried groups, namely, separated/ divorced, widowed, and never-married, the never-married experienced the earliest onset of mild cognitive impairment for both genders. Notably, widowed men and women lived the highest number and percentage of years with cognitive impairment. Discussion: The findings may help the health authority and policymakers to identify vulnerable population sub-groups and formulate strategies to address the growing burden of cognitive impairment. Key words: Cognitive health expectancy, marital status, never married, widowed.
Presented in Session 87. Civil Status and Health