Skip Navigation LinksHome > October 2014 - Volume 21 - Issue 10 > Role of grandparenting in postmenopausal women’s cognitive h...
doi: 10.1097/GME.0000000000000236
Original Articles

Role of grandparenting in postmenopausal women’s cognitive health: results from the Women’s Healthy Aging Project

Burn, Katherine F. BSc(Hons)1; Henderson, Victor W. MD2; Ames, David MD3; Dennerstein, Lorraine PhD, MBBS3; Szoeke, Cassandra PhD, FRACP, MBBS, BSc(Hons)1

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Objective: Preserving aging cognition improves quality of life and delays dementia onset. Previous studies have shown that social engagement can maintain cognition; however, none has examined the effects of grandparenting, an important role among postmenopausal women. This study aims to examine the role of grandparenting in cognition among postmenopausal women.

Methods: Participants were 186 Australian women from the longitudinal prospective Women’s Healthy Aging Project. Cognition was assessed using the Symbol-Digit Modalities Test (SDMT), California Verbal Learning Test, and Tower of London.

Results: Amount of time spent minding grandchildren predicted differences in SDMT performance (P < 0.01). The highest cognitive scores for most tests were seen in participants who minded grandchildren for 1 day/week. Minding grandchildren for 1 day/week was also a significant positive predictor of California Verbal Learning Test immediate recall performance (P < 0.05). However, minding grandchildren for 5 days or more per week predicted lower SDMT performance (P < 0.05).

Conclusions: The data suggest that the highest cognitive performance is demonstrated by postmenopausal women who spend 1 day/week minding grandchildren; however, minding grandchildren for 5 days or more per week predicts lower working memory performance and processing speed. These results indicate that highly frequent grandparenting predicts lower cognitive performance.

© 2014 by The North American Menopause Society.


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