Number of children and cognitive abilities in later life

Bordone V & Weber D (2012). Number of children and cognitive abilities in later life. In: Vienna Yearbook of Population Research. pp. 95-126 Vienna, Austria: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften. DOI:10.1553/populationyearbook2012s95.

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Abstract

The investigation on cognition has identified structural characteristics of the social network as important components to contrast cognitive ageing. Using data from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe, we examine the association between number of children and cognitive functioning in later life, considering the performance in three cognitive tests (fluency, immediate recall and delayed recall). The analyses focus on respondents aged 60+, not in the labour market, accounting for their proximity and frequency of contact to children. We find a positive association between cognitive functioning and having children: childless men and women name a lower number of items in one test, the so-called "fluency test." However, parents of two children show higher abilities than parents of a single child and heads of large families. Our findings also indicate that more contacts with children are associated with higher fluency. Interestingly, the relationship with the child(ren) is not significantly related to cognitive performance in the two tests of recall abilities, where educational attainment and the presence of a spouse or partner show to be more relevant. Studying both men and women allows us to consider both biological mechanisms and social relationships linking parity and cognitive functioning in later life.

Item Type: Book Section
Research Programs: World Population (POP)
Bibliographic Reference: Vienna Yearbook of Population Research 2012; 10:95-126 (Published online 16 January 2013)
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 08:46
Last Modified: 25 Feb 2016 09:37
URI: http://pure.iiasa.ac.at/9847

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