Objectives: Depressive symptoms are greatly associated with cognitive impairment in older adults. Recent growing body of literature has reported that the subjective perception of one's own age (subjective age) predicts both cognitive performance and mental well-being in old age. This study aims to examine whether subjective age moderates the association between depressive symptoms and cognitive functioning in a representative sample of Korean older adults. To address this research question, we employed the Stereotype-Embodiment Theory as a theoretical guide. Method: Data are from the 2016 Dementia Literacy Survey collected by Kyung Hee University, and 526 community-dwelling Korean older adults (ages 60–79) completed the questionnaire about depressive symptoms, cognitive functioning, and subjective age. Results: According to the hierarchical regression analysis, both higher levels of depressive symptoms and older subjective age were associated with poorer cognitive functioning. Further analyses showed that subjective age attenuated the effect of depressive symptoms on cognitive functioning: when older adults have a higher level of depression, those with younger subjective age reported a higher level of cognitive functioning than those with older subjective age. Conclusion: Based on the findings from this study, both theoretical and practical implications were discussed.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Korea and the National Research Foundation of Korea [NRF-2015S1A5A2A03049222].
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- Cognitive functioning
- depressive symptoms
- subjective age