Spousal loss and cognitive function in later life: a 25-year follow-up in the AGES-Reykjavik study.
ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to investigate the associations between loss of a life partner and the development of dementia and decline in cognitive function in later life. We used an Icelandic cohort of 4,370 participants in the Age, Gene/Environment Susceptibility-Reykjavik Study who were living as married in 1978 (born in 1907-1935) and were either still married (unexposed cohort) or widowed (exposed cohort) at follow-up (in 2002-2006). We ascertained history of marital status and spouse's death by record linkage to the Registry of the Total Population, Statistics Iceland. The outcome measures were as follows: 1) dementia and mild cognitive impairment; and 2) memory, speed of processing, and executive function. During the observation period, 3,007 individuals remained married and 1,363 lost a spouse through death. We did not find any significant associations between loss of a spouse and our outcome variables, except that widowed women had poorer executive function (mean = -0.08) during the first 2 years after their husbands' deaths compared with still-married women (mean = 0.09). Our findings do not support the notion that the risk of dementia is increased following the loss of a spouse, yet women demonstrate a seemingly temporary decline in executive function following the death of a partner.
Project description:PURPOSE:We provide population-based longitudinal evidence of marital status differences in the risk of cognitive impairment and dementia in the United States. METHODS:Data were from the longitudinal National Health and Aging Trends Study, 2011-2018. The sample included 7508 respondents aged 65 years and older who contributed 25,897 person-year records. We estimated discrete-time hazard models to predict the risk of dementia and cognitive impairment, not dementia (CIND), as well as impairment in three major cognitive domains: memory, orientation, and executive function. RESULTS:Relative to their married counterparts, divorced and widowed elders had higher odds of dementia and CIND, as well as higher odds of impairment in each of the cognitive domains. Never-married elders had higher odds of impairment in memory and orientation than their married counterparts but did not differ significantly in the odds of impaired executive function, dementia, or CIND. Cohabiting elders did not differ significantly from married respondents on any measure of cognitive impairment. We found no gender differences in the associations between marital status and the measures of cognitive impairment. CONCLUSIONS:Marital status is a potentially important but overlooked social risk/protective factor for cognitive impairment. Divorced and widowed older adults are particularly vulnerable to cognitive impairment.
Project description:Death of a spouse is associated with poorer physical and mental health. We followed all married individuals, born from 1902 to 1942, during the period from 1987 to 2002, and found that widows and widowers had higher risk for hip fracture, compared with still married women and men. INTRODUCTION:Spousal bereavement can lead to poorer physical and mental health. We aimed to determine whether married women and men had an elevated risk of hip fracture after death of a spouse. METHODS:In a retrospective cohort study, we followed all Swedish married individuals aged 60 to 100 years (n?=?1,783,035), from 1987 to 2002. Data are presented as mean with 95% confidence interval (CI). RESULTS:During the follow-up period, 21,305 hip fractures among widows and 6538 hip fractures among widowers were noted. The hazard ratio (HR) for hip fracture in widows compared with married women was 1.34 (95% CI 1.31 to 1.37) and for widowers compared with married men 1.32 (95% CI 1.29 to 1.35). The HR for hip fracture in the first 6 months after death of a spouse was in widows compared with married women 1.62 (95% CI 1.53 to 1.71) and in widowers compared with married men 1.84 (95% CI 1.68 to 2.03). The elevated risk was especially prominent in young widowers in the age range 60-69 years. During the first 6 months they showed a HR of 2.76 (95% CI 1.66 to 4.58) for a hip fractvure compared with age matched married men. Widows aged 60-69 years showed a HR of 1.59 (95% CI 1.26 to 1.99) compared with age matched married women. CONCLUSION:Our observation of a higher hip fracture risk in both genders in connection with the death of a spouse indicates a possible effect of bereavement on frailty.
Project description:It is estimated that there are up to 1.1 million injection drug users (IDUs) in India; the majority are likely married. We characterize HIV, hepatitis B (HBV) and hepatitis C (HCV) prevalence and the risk environment of a sample of spouses of IDUs.A cohort of 1158 IDUs (99% male) was recruited in Chennai, India from 2005-06. A convenience sample of 400 spouses of the male IDUs in this cohort was recruited in 2009. A risk assessment questionnaire was administered and a blood sample collected. Logistic regression was used to identify factors associated with prevalent HIV.Median age was 31 years; thirteen percent were widowed and 7% were not currently living with their spouse. Only 4 (1%) reported ever injecting drugs; Twenty-two percent and 25% reported ever using non-injection drugs and alcohol, respectively. The majority had one lifetime sexual partner and 37 (9%) reporting exchanging sex. Only 7% always used condoms with their regular partner. HIV, HBV and HCV prevalence were 2.5%, 3.8% and 0.5%, respectively; among spouses of HIV+ IDUs (n = 78), HIV prevalence was 10.3%. The strongest predictor of HIV was spousal HIV status (OR: 17.9; p < 0.001). Fifty-six percent of women had ever experienced intimate partner violence; Eight-six percent reported sexual violence.Our finding of a 10-fold higher HIV prevalence among spouses of IDUs compared with general population women indicates their vulnerability; prevalence is likely to increase given the context of low condom use and frequent sexual violence. Prevention efforts directed at IDUs should also include programs for spouses.
Project description:OBJECTIVES:We provide one of the first population-based studies of variation in dementia by marital status in the United States. METHOD:We analyzed data from the Health and Retirement Study (2000-2014). The sample included 15,379 respondents (6,650 men and 8,729 women) aged 52 years and older in 2000 who showed no evidence of dementia at the baseline survey. Dementia was assessed using either the modified version of the Telephone Interview for Cognitive Status (TICS) or the proxy's assessment. Discrete-time hazard regression models were estimated to predict odds of dementia. RESULTS:All unmarried groups, including the cohabiting, divorced/separated, widowed, and never married, had significantly higher odds of developing dementia over the study period than their married counterparts; economic resources and, to a lesser degree, health-related factors accounted for only part of the marital status variation in dementia. For divorced/separated and widowed respondents, the differences in the odds of dementia relative to married respondents were greater among men than among women. DISCUSSION:These findings will be helpful for health policy makers and practitioners who seek to better identify vulnerable subpopulations and to design effective intervention strategies to reduce dementia risk.
Project description:Importance:To reduce the rising incidence of clinical impairment due to Alzheimer disease, it is essential to define older adults at highest risk. Widowhood may be an unrecognized factor contributing to accelerated clinical progression along the Alzheimer disease pathway among cognitively unimpaired older adults. Objective:To determine whether widowhood status and level of brain ?-amyloid (ie, the Alzheimer disease pathologic protein) are additively or interactively associated with cognitive decline among cognitively unimpaired older adults. Design, Setting, and Participants:In this cohort study, 257 married, widowed, and unmarried (ie, never married, divorced, or separated) participants from the Harvard Aging Brain Study longitudinal cohort underwent baseline evaluation of neocortical ?-amyloid levels using Pittsburgh compound B positron emission tomography and 4 annual cognitive assessments. Data were collected from September 2010 to February 2017 and analyzed from July 2018 to July 2019. Main Outcomes and Measures:Cognitive performance was measured using the Preclinical Alzheimer Cognitive Composite. Results:Of the 257 participants, 153 (59.5%) were women, and the mean (SD) age was 73.5 (6.1) years; 145 participants (56.4%) were married (66 [45.5%] women), 77 (30.0%) were unmarried (56 [72.7%] women), and 35 (13.6%) were widowed (31 [88.6%] women). Compared with married participants, widowed participants demonstrated worsening cognitive performance after adjusting for age, sex, socioeconomic status, depression, and ?-amyloid levels (??=?-0.11; 95% CI, -0.19 to -0.04; P?=?.002) with no difference observed between married and unmarried participants. Furthermore, widowed participants with higher baseline ?-amyloid levels exhibited steeper cognitive decline (??=?-0.22; 95% CI, -0.42 to -0.03; P?=?.02), indicating both independent and interactive associations of ?-amyloid levels and widowhood with cognition. In a secondary model using dichotomous ?-amyloid-marital status groupings, the rate of cognitive decline among widowed participants with high ?-amyloid was nearly 3 times faster than among married participants with high ?-amyloid (widowed, high ?-amyloid: ?, -0.33; 95% CI, -0.46 to -0.19; P?<?.001; married, high ?-amyloid: ?, -0.12; 95% CI, -0.18 to -0.01; P?<?.001). Conclusions and Relevance:In a sample of cognitively unimpaired older adults, being widowed was associated with accelerated ?-amyloid-related cognitive decline during 3 years. Cognitively unimpaired, widowed older adults were particularly susceptible to Alzheimer disease clinical progression, emphasizing the need for increased research attention and evidenced-based interventions for this high-risk group.
Project description:Past research shows that spousal death results in elevated mortality risk for the surviving spouse. However, most prior studies have inadequately controlled for socioeconomic status (SES), and it is unclear whether this 'widowhood effect' persists over time.Health and Retirement Study participants aged 50+ years and married in 1998 (n = 12 316) were followed through 2008 for widowhood status and mortality (2912 deaths). Discrete-time survival analysis was used to compare mortality for the widowed versus the married.Odds of mortality during the first 3 months post-widowhood were significantly higher than in the continuously married (odds ratio (OR) for men = 1.87, 95% CI: 1.27, 2.75; OR for women = 1.47, 95% CI: 0.96, 2.24) in models adjusted for age, gender, race and baseline SES (education, household wealth and household income), behavioral risk factors and co-morbidities. Twelve months following bereavement, men experienced borderline elevated mortality (OR = 1.16, 95% CI: 1.00, 1.35), whereas women did not (OR = 1.07, 95% CI: 0.90, 1.28), though the gender difference was non-significant.The 'widowhood effect' was not fully explained by adjusting for pre-widowhood SES and particularly elevated within the first few months after widowhood. These associations did not differ by sex.
Project description:Importance:Although spouses strongly resemble one another in their risk for alcohol use disorder (AUD), the causes of this association remain unclear. Objectives:To examine longitudinally, in first marriages, the association of a first registration for AUD in one spouse with risk of registration in his or her partner and to explore changes in the risk for AUD registration in individuals with multiple marriages as they transition from a spouse with AUD to one without or vice versa. Design, Setting, and Participants:Population-wide Swedish registries were used to identify individuals born in Sweden between 1960 and 1990 who were married before the end of study follow-up on December 31, 2013. The study included 8562 marital pairs with no history of AUD registration prior to their first marriage and an AUD registration in 1 spouse during marriage and 4891 individuals with multiple marriages whose first spouse had no AUD registration and second spouse did or vice versa. Final statistical analyses were conducted from August 15 to September 1, 2017. Exposures:A spousal onset or history of AUD registration. Main Outcomes and Measures:Alcohol use disorder registration in national medical, criminal, or pharmacy registries. Results:Among the 8562 marital pairs (5883 female probands and 2679 male probands; mean [SD] age at marriage, 29.2 [5.7] years) in first marriages, the hazard ratio of AUD registration in wives immediately after the first AUD registration in their husbands was 13.82, which decreased 2 years later to 3.75. The hazard ratio of AUD registration in husbands after the first AUD registration in their wives was 9.21, which decreased 2 years later to 3.09. Among the 4891 individuals with multiple marriages (1439 women and 3452 men; mean [SD] age at first marriage, 25.5 [4.2] years), when individuals transitioned from a first marriage to a spouse with AUD to a second marriage to a spouse without AUD, the hazard ratio for AUD registration was 0.50 (95% CI, 0.42-0.59) in women and 0.51 (95% CI, 0.44-0.59) in men. After a first marriage to a spouse without AUD, the hazard ratio for AUD with a second marriage to a spouse with AUD was 7.02 (95% CI, 5.34-9.23) in women and 9.06 (95% CI, 7.55-10.86) in men. These patterns were modestly attenuated when moving from second to third marriages. Controlling for AUD registration prior to first marriage or between first and second marriages produced minimal changes in risk. Conclusions and Relevance:The increase in risk for AUD registration in a married individual following a first AUD registration in the spouse is large and rapid. When an individual with serial spouses is married, in either order, to partners with vs without an AUD registration, the risk for AUD registration is substantially increased when the partner has an AUD registration and decreased when the partner does not have an AUD registration. These results suggest that a married individual's risk for AUD is directly and causally affected by the presence of AUD in his or her spouse.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Although marital status and low occupation level has been associated with mortality, the relationship with case fatality rates (CFR) after a coronary event (CE) is unclear. This study explored whether incidence of CE and short-term CFR differ between groups defined in terms of marital status and occupation, and if this could be explained by biological and life-style risk factors. METHODS: Population-based cohort study of 33,224 subjects (67% men), aged 27 to 61 years, without history of myocardial infarction, who were enrolled between 1974 and 1992. Incidence of CE, and CFR (death during the first day or within 28 days after CE, including out-of-hospital deaths) was examined over a mean follow-up of 21 years. RESULTS: A total of 3,035 men (6.0 per 1000 person-years) and 507 women (2.4 per 1000) suffered a first CE during follow-up. CFR (during the 1st day) was 29% in men and 23% in women. After risk factor adjustments, unmarried status in men, but not in women, was significantly associated with increased risk of suffering a CE [hazard ratios (HR) 1.10, 95% CI: 0.97-1.24; 1.42: 1.27-1.58 and 1.77: 1.31-2.40 for never married, divorced and widowed, respectively, compared to married]. Unmarried status, in both gender, was also related with an increased CFR (1st day), taking potential confounders into account (odds ratio (OR) 2.14, 95% CI: 1.63-2.81; 1.91: 1.50-2.43 and 1.49: 0.77-2.89 for never married, divorced and widowed, respectively, compared to married men. Corresponding figures for women was 2.32: 0.93-5.81; 1.87: 1.04-3.36 and 2.74: 1.03-7.28. No differences in CFR (1st day) were observed between occupational groups in neither gender. CONCLUSIONS: In this population-based Swedish cohort, short-term CFR was significantly related to unmarried status in men and women. This relationship was not explained by biological-, life-style factors or occupational level.
Project description:BACKGROUND:To investigate the associations of marital status with major clinical outcomes including type 2 diabetes (T2D), hypertension, cardiovascular disease (CVD) and all-cause mortality. METHODS:The study cohort (1999-2014) included 9,737 (45% male) Iranian adults with a mean age of 47.6 years. Marital status was defined as married versus never married, divorced and widowed. The relationship between marital status and the four above mentioned outcomes were investigated using Cox regression models adjusted for the main confounders, specific to each outcome. RESULTS:After more than 12 years of follow-up, 1,889 (883 men) individuals developed hypertension, 1,038 (468 men) T2D, 1015 (597 men) CVD and 668 (409 men) all-cause mortality. Compared with married, being never married in men was associated with higher risk of hypertension [hazard ratio (HR): 1.55; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.11-2.16] and all-cause mortality (2.17; 0.95-5.00; p-value = 0.066) after adjusting for confounders. Among women, compared with married status, widowed status was associated with a lower risk of T2D (0.74; 0.56-0.97) in the confounders adjusted model. Moreover, never married women had a lower risk of hypertension (0.58; 0.37-0.90) compared to married ones in the age adjusted model, a finding that did not achieve significance, after further adjustment for confounders. CONCLUSION:We found that the relationship between marital status and health outcomes varied by gender. Being never married was an important risk factor for hypertension and tended to be a significant risk factor for mortality in men. However, among women, being widowed was associated with a lower risk of T2D.
Project description:The Sustainable Development Goals aim to leave no one behind. We explored the hypothesis that women without a living spouse-including those who are widowed, divorced, separated, and never married-are a vulnerable group being left behind by cataract services. Using national cross-sectional blindness surveys from Nigeria (2005-2007; n = 13,591) and Sri Lanka (2012-2014; n = 5779) we categorized women and men by marital status (married/not-married) and place of residence (urban/rural) concurrently. For each of the eight subgroups we calculated cataract blindness, cataract surgical coverage (CSC), and effective cataract surgical coverage (eCSC). Not-married women, who were predominantly widows, experienced disproportionate cataract blindness-in Nigeria they were 19% of the population yet represented 56% of those with cataract blindness; in Sri Lanka they were 18% of the population and accounted for 54% of those with cataract blindness. Not-married rural women fared worst in access to services-in Nigeria their CSC of 25.2% (95% confidence interval, CI 17.8-33.8%) was far lower than the best-off subgroup (married urban men, CSC 80.0% 95% CI 56.3-94.3); in Sri Lanka they also lagged behind (CSC 68.5% 95% CI 56.6-78.9 compared to 100% in the best-off subgroup). Service quality was also comparably poor for rural not-married women-eCSC was 8.9% (95% CI 4.5-15.4) in Nigeria and 37.0% (95% CI 26.0-49.1) in Sri Lanka. Women who are not married are a vulnerable group who experience poor access to cataract services and high cataract blindness. To "leave no one behind", multi-faceted strategies are needed to address their needs.