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Abstract

Objective

To test the hypothesis that life course patterns of employment, marriage, and childrearing influence later-life rate of memory decline among women, we examined the relationship of work-family experiences between ages 16 and 50 years and memory decline after age 55 years among US women.

Methods

Participants were women ages ≥55 years in the Health and Retirement Study. Participants reported employment, marital, and parenthood statuses between ages 16 and 50 years. Sequence analysis was used to group women with similar work-family life histories; we identified 5 profiles characterized by similar timing and transitions of combined work, marital, and parenthood statuses. Memory performance was assessed biennially from 1995 to 2016. We estimated associations between work-family profiles and later-life memory decline with linear mixed-effects models adjusted for practice effects, baseline age, race/ethnicity, birth region, childhood socioeconomic status, and educational attainment.

Results

There were 6,189 study participants (n = 488 working nonmothers, n = 4,326 working married mothers, n = 530 working single mothers, n = 319 nonworking single mothers, n = 526 nonworking married mothers). Mean baseline age was 57.2 years; average follow-up was 12.3 years. Between ages 55 and 60, memory scores were similar across work-family profiles. After age 60, average rate of memory decline was more than 50% greater among women whose work-family profiles did not include working for pay after childbearing, compared with those who were working mothers.

Conclusions

Women who worked for pay in early adulthood and midlife experienced slower rates of later-life memory decline, regardless of marital and parenthood status, suggesting participation in the paid labor force may protect against later-life memory decline.

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Information & Authors

Information

Published In

Neurology®
Volume 95Number 23December 8, 2020
Pages: e3072-e3080
PubMed: 33148811

Publication History

Received: February 4, 2020
Accepted: August 3, 2020
Published online: November 4, 2020
Published in print: December 8, 2020

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Disclosure

The authors report no disclosures relevant to the manuscript. Go to Neurology.org/N for full disclosures.

Study Funding

This work was supported by National Institute on Aging grant numbers R00AG053410 and R01AG040248 and the Karen Toffler Charitable Trust.

Authors

Affiliations & Disclosures

Elizabeth Rose Mayeda, PhD, MPH
From the Departments of Epidemiology (E.R.M., T.M.M.) and Biostatistics (R.E.W.), University of California, Los Angeles Fielding School of Public Health; Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics (E.R.M., A.R.M.), University of California, San Francisco; Departments of Epidemiology (A.R.M., L.F.B.) and Social and Behavioral Sciences (L.F.B.), Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston; and School of Social Work (E.L.S.), Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA.
Disclosure
Scientific Advisory Boards:
1.
NONE
Gifts:
1.
NONE
Funding for Travel or Speaker Honoraria:
1.
NONE
Editorial Boards:
1.
NONE
Patents:
1.
NONE
Publishing Royalties:
1.
NONE
Employment, Commercial Entity:
1.
NONE
Consultancies:
1.
NONE
Speakers' Bureaus:
1.
NONE
Other Activities:
1.
NONE
Clinical Procedures or Imaging Studies:
1.
NONE
Research Support, Commercial Entities:
1.
NONE
Research Support, Government Entities:
1.
(1) National Institute on Aging, grant number R00AG053410, role: PI, 9/2016-3/2021 (2) National Institute on Aging, grant number R01AG059872, role: Co-I, 8/2018-4/2022 (3) National Institute on Aging, grant number R01AG057869, role: Co-I, 9/2018-4/2023 (4) National Institute on Aging, grant number R01AG063969, role: PI, 9/2019-4/2023 (5) National Institute on Aging, grant number R01AG066132, role: Co-I, 9/2019-5/2024 (6) California Department of Public Health, no grant number; grant in response to Request for Application # 19-10538, role: Co-I, 4/2020-6/2022
Research Support, Academic Entities:
1.
NONE
Research Support, Foundations and Societies:
1.
Karen Toffler Charitable Trust
Stock/stock Options/board of Directors Compensation:
1.
NONE
License Fee Payments, Technology or Inventions:
1.
NONE
Royalty Payments, Technology or Inventions:
1.
NONE
Stock/stock Options, Research Sponsor:
1.
NONE
Stock/stock Options, Medical Equipment & Materials:
1.
NONE
Legal Proceedings:
1.
NONE
Taylor M. Mobley, MPH
From the Departments of Epidemiology (E.R.M., T.M.M.) and Biostatistics (R.E.W.), University of California, Los Angeles Fielding School of Public Health; Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics (E.R.M., A.R.M.), University of California, San Francisco; Departments of Epidemiology (A.R.M., L.F.B.) and Social and Behavioral Sciences (L.F.B.), Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston; and School of Social Work (E.L.S.), Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA.
Disclosure
Scientific Advisory Boards:
1.
NONE
Gifts:
1.
NONE
Funding for Travel or Speaker Honoraria:
1.
NONE
Editorial Boards:
1.
NONE
Patents:
1.
NONE
Publishing Royalties:
1.
NONE
Employment, Commercial Entity:
1.
NONE
Consultancies:
1.
NONE
Speakers' Bureaus:
1.
NONE
Other Activities:
1.
NONE
Clinical Procedures or Imaging Studies:
1.
NONE
Research Support, Commercial Entities:
1.
NONE
Research Support, Government Entities:
1.
NONE
Research Support, Academic Entities:
1.
NONE
Research Support, Foundations and Societies:
1.
NONE
Stock/stock Options/board of Directors Compensation:
1.
NONE
License Fee Payments, Technology or Inventions:
1.
NONE
Royalty Payments, Technology or Inventions:
1.
NONE
Stock/stock Options, Research Sponsor:
1.
NONE
Stock/stock Options, Medical Equipment & Materials:
1.
NONE
Legal Proceedings:
1.
NONE
Robert E. Weiss, PhD
From the Departments of Epidemiology (E.R.M., T.M.M.) and Biostatistics (R.E.W.), University of California, Los Angeles Fielding School of Public Health; Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics (E.R.M., A.R.M.), University of California, San Francisco; Departments of Epidemiology (A.R.M., L.F.B.) and Social and Behavioral Sciences (L.F.B.), Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston; and School of Social Work (E.L.S.), Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA.
Disclosure
Scientific Advisory Boards:
1.
NONE
Gifts:
1.
NONE
Funding for Travel or Speaker Honoraria:
1.
NONE
Editorial Boards:
1.
Biometrics, Associate Editor, 2010-present
Patents:
1.
NONE
Publishing Royalties:
1.
(1) Modeling Longitudinal Data, Springer, 2005
Employment, Commercial Entity:
1.
NONE
Consultancies:
1.
(1) Amgen
Speakers' Bureaus:
1.
NONE
Other Activities:
1.
NONE
Clinical Procedures or Imaging Studies:
1.
NONE
Research Support, Commercial Entities:
1.
NONE
Research Support, Government Entities:
1.
(1) NIMH, P 30 MH 58107, biostatistician, 9/30/97 – 1/31/22 (2) CHRP, OS17-LA-003, 04/01/18 – 03/31/22, Biostatistician (3) NIMHD, 1 R01 MD011773-01 NIMHD, 8/10/17 – 06/30/22, Biostatistician (4) NIH, EY029792, 04/01/20 – 03/31/2024, Biostatistician (5) NIMH, 1R01MH103076, 09/01/14 – 08/31/19, Biostatistician (6) NIH/NIDA, 1R01DA038675, 04/15/15 – 03/31/20, Biostatistician
Research Support, Academic Entities:
1.
NONE
Research Support, Foundations and Societies:
1.
NONE
Stock/stock Options/board of Directors Compensation:
1.
NONE
License Fee Payments, Technology or Inventions:
1.
NONE
Royalty Payments, Technology or Inventions:
1.
NONE
Stock/stock Options, Research Sponsor:
1.
NONE
Stock/stock Options, Medical Equipment & Materials:
1.
NONE
Legal Proceedings:
1.
(1) Law firm, expert witness, 2018-2019
Audrey R. Murchland, MPH
From the Departments of Epidemiology (E.R.M., T.M.M.) and Biostatistics (R.E.W.), University of California, Los Angeles Fielding School of Public Health; Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics (E.R.M., A.R.M.), University of California, San Francisco; Departments of Epidemiology (A.R.M., L.F.B.) and Social and Behavioral Sciences (L.F.B.), Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston; and School of Social Work (E.L.S.), Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA.
Disclosure
Scientific Advisory Boards:
1.
NONE
Gifts:
1.
NONE
Funding for Travel or Speaker Honoraria:
1.
NONE
Editorial Boards:
1.
NONE
Patents:
1.
NONE
Publishing Royalties:
1.
NONE
Employment, Commercial Entity:
1.
NONE
Consultancies:
1.
NONE
Speakers' Bureaus:
1.
NONE
Other Activities:
1.
NONE
Clinical Procedures or Imaging Studies:
1.
NONE
Research Support, Commercial Entities:
1.
NONE
Research Support, Government Entities:
1.
NIA grant R00AG053410 (PI: Mayeda)
Research Support, Academic Entities:
1.
NONE
Research Support, Foundations and Societies:
1.
NONE
Stock/stock Options/board of Directors Compensation:
1.
NONE
License Fee Payments, Technology or Inventions:
1.
NONE
Royalty Payments, Technology or Inventions:
1.
NONE
Stock/stock Options, Research Sponsor:
1.
NONE
Stock/stock Options, Medical Equipment & Materials:
1.
NONE
Legal Proceedings:
1.
NONE
Lisa F. Berkman, PhD
From the Departments of Epidemiology (E.R.M., T.M.M.) and Biostatistics (R.E.W.), University of California, Los Angeles Fielding School of Public Health; Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics (E.R.M., A.R.M.), University of California, San Francisco; Departments of Epidemiology (A.R.M., L.F.B.) and Social and Behavioral Sciences (L.F.B.), Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston; and School of Social Work (E.L.S.), Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA.
Disclosure
Scientific Advisory Boards:
1.
NONE
Gifts:
1.
NONE
Funding for Travel or Speaker Honoraria:
1.
NONE
Editorial Boards:
1.
NONE
Patents:
1.
NONE
Publishing Royalties:
1.
NONE
Employment, Commercial Entity:
1.
NONE
Consultancies:
1.
NONE
Speakers' Bureaus:
1.
NONE
Other Activities:
1.
NONE
Clinical Procedures or Imaging Studies:
1.
NONE
Research Support, Commercial Entities:
1.
NONE
Research Support, Government Entities:
1.
1) NICHD/NIA U01 5186989-01 [PI] 2) NIA P30 AG024409-04 [co-I] 3) NIA 1R21AG032572-01 [co-I] 4) NCI R25 CA057713-05 [co-I]
Research Support, Academic Entities:
1.
NONE
Research Support, Foundations and Societies:
1.
1) Robert Wood Johnson Foundation 2) Macarthur Foundation
Stock/stock Options/board of Directors Compensation:
1.
NONE
License Fee Payments, Technology or Inventions:
1.
NONE
Royalty Payments, Technology or Inventions:
1.
NONE
Stock/stock Options, Research Sponsor:
1.
NONE
Stock/stock Options, Medical Equipment & Materials:
1.
NONE
Legal Proceedings:
1.
NONE
Erika L. Sabbath, ScD
From the Departments of Epidemiology (E.R.M., T.M.M.) and Biostatistics (R.E.W.), University of California, Los Angeles Fielding School of Public Health; Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics (E.R.M., A.R.M.), University of California, San Francisco; Departments of Epidemiology (A.R.M., L.F.B.) and Social and Behavioral Sciences (L.F.B.), Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston; and School of Social Work (E.L.S.), Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA.
Disclosure
Scientific Advisory Boards:
1.
NONE
Gifts:
1.
NONE
Funding for Travel or Speaker Honoraria:
1.
NONE
Editorial Boards:
1.
NONE
Patents:
1.
NONE
Publishing Royalties:
1.
NONE
Employment, Commercial Entity:
1.
NONE
Consultancies:
1.
NONE
Speakers' Bureaus:
1.
NONE
Other Activities:
1.
NONE
Clinical Procedures or Imaging Studies:
1.
NONE
Research Support, Commercial Entities:
1.
NONE
Research Support, Government Entities:
1.
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 2U19 OH008861-10, Co-investigator, 2016-2021 National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, K01 OH010673-02, Principal investigator, 2014-2018
Research Support, Academic Entities:
1.
NONE
Research Support, Foundations and Societies:
1.
NONE
Stock/stock Options/board of Directors Compensation:
1.
NONE
License Fee Payments, Technology or Inventions:
1.
NONE
Royalty Payments, Technology or Inventions:
1.
NONE
Stock/stock Options, Research Sponsor:
1.
NONE
Stock/stock Options, Medical Equipment & Materials:
1.
NONE
Legal Proceedings:
1.
NONE

Notes

Correspondence Dr. Mayeda [email protected]
Go to Neurology.org/N for full disclosures. Funding information and disclosures deemed relevant by the authors, if any, are provided at the end of the article.

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