There are positive correlations between subjective health reports and episodic memory performance in older adults. However, previous studies have not evaluated the scope of such complex relationships, nor the potentially nonlinear magnitude of these correlations across age and time. We employed multiple subjective heath indices to evaluate the scope and nonlinearity of such relationships with memory performance.
We utilized a cross-sectional (N = 2,783 at baseline) and longitudinal sample (N = 311) of healthy older adults aged 65 and older from the Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly (ACTIVE) study. We used time-varying effects modeling (TVEM) to assess potential differences in relationship magnitudes between memory and three subjective health subscales (general health, role physical function, and physical function, from the Short Form Health Survey; SF-36) across five years.
Episodic memory positively predicted all subjective health measures cross-sectionally and longitudinally in our sample. TVEM revealed the relationships between all subjective health measures and episodic memory were stable across age. While role physical function and physical function maintained stable relationships with episodic memory across time, general health became increasingly coupled with memory five years following baseline.
Together, our findings highlight stable and varying relationships between episodic memory and multiple subjective health indicators across metrics of time in older adults.