TitleAging-related changes in the association between negative affect and response time inconsistency in older adulthood
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsCerino, ES, Stawski, RS, Settersten, RA, Odden, MC, Hooker, K
JournalInternational Journal of Behavioral Development
Date Published07/2020

Negative affect (NA) and positive affect (PA) are established modifiable psychosocial correlates of cognitive health and have demonstrated capacity for meaningful within-person fluctuations based on person–environment interactions, age, and measurement approach. Previous research has shown NA is associated with increased response time inconsistency (RTI), an early performance-based indicator of cognitive health and aging. It is unclear, however, whether PA is associated with RTI and whether affect-RTI associations exist within persons over time or change as individuals get older. We utilized data from a measurement burst study (Cognition, Health, and Aging Project) to explore within- and between-person associations between affect and RTI in community-dwelling older adults ( N = 111, M = 80.04 years, SD = 6.30). Affect and RTI were assessed on 6 days over a 2-week period, every 6 months for 2 years. Results revealed a significant association between NA-low arousal and RTI within persons over time. RTI was higher on sessions when NA-low arousal was higher than usual ( b = .21, 95% CI [0.08, 0.35], p < .01). This association decreased in magnitude over time ( b = −.09, 95% CI [−0.14, −0.03], p < .001), ultimately resulting in increased NA-low arousal being associated with decreased RTI 2 years later ( b = −.14, 95% CI [−0.27, −0.01], p < .05). No PA-RTI associations emerged. The results suggest efforts focused on maximizing resource allocation and personalizing cognitive health efforts should consider for whom and when mitigating NA may be maximally beneficial to daily cognition, whereas additional work is needed to determine influences from PA.

Short TitleInternational Journal of Behavioral Development