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Longitudinal Mediation of Processing Speed on Age-Related Change in Memory and Fluid Intelligence.

Journal article
Authors Annie Robitaille
Andrea M Piccinin
Graciela Muniz-Terrera
Lesa Hoffman
Boo Johansson
Dorly J H Deeg
Marja J Aartsen
Hannie C Comijs
Scott M Hofer
Published in Psychology and aging
Volume 28
Issue 4
Pages 887-901
ISSN 1939-1498
Publication year 2013
Published at Department of Psychology
Pages 887-901
Language en
Subject categories Psychology


Age-related decline in processing speed has long been considered a key driver of cognitive aging. While the majority of empirical evidence for the processing speed hypothesis has been obtained from analyses of between-person age differences, longitudinal studies provide a direct test of within-person change. Using recent developments in longitudinal mediation analysis, we examine the speed-mediation hypothesis at both the within-and between-person levels in two longitudinal studies, Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam (LASA) and Origins of Variance in the Oldest-Old (OCTO-Twin). We found significant within-person indirect effects of change in age, such that increasing age was related to lower speed, which in turn relates to lower performance across repeated measures on other cognitive outcomes. Although between-person indirect effects were also significant in LASA, they were not in OCTO-Twin which is not unexpected given the age homogeneous nature of the OCTO-Twin data. A more in-depth examination through measures of effect size suggests that, for the LASA study, the within-person indirect effects were small and between-person indirect effects were consistently larger. These differing magnitudes of direct and indirect effects across levels demonstrate the importance of separating between- and within-person effects in evaluating theoretical models of age-related change. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved).

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