Social Relationships and Risk of Incident Mild Cognitive Impairment in US Alzheimer's Disease Centers.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Alzheimer disease and associated disorders (2014)


2014, March 2014, Public Health Sciences Division


Social relationships are hypothesized to prevent or slow cognitive decline. We sought to evaluate associations between social relationships and mild cognitive impairment (MCI). Participants from the National Alzheimer's Coordinating Center database who were cognitively normal, aged 55 and older at baseline, and had at least 2 in-person visits (n=5335) were included. Multivariable Cox proportional hazard models evaluated the association between 4 social relationships at baseline (marital status, living situation, having children, and having siblings) and risk of developing MCI (on the basis of clinician diagnosis following established criteria). Primary models were adjusted for baseline demographics. Participants were followed, on average, for 3.2 years; 15.2% were diagnosed with MCI. Compared with married participants, risk of MCI was significantly lower for widowed participants (hazard ratio: 0.87; 95% confidence interval: 0.76, 0.99) but not for divorced/separated or never-married participants. Compared with living with a spouse/partner, risk of MCI was significantly higher for living with others (hazard ratio: 1.35; 95% confidence interval: 1.03, 1.77) but not for living alone. Risk of MCI was not associated with having children or having siblings. These results did not consistently identify social relationships as a strong risk factor for, or independent clinical predictor of, MCI.