The Effect of Bereavement on Cognitive Functioning among Elderly People: Evidence from Australia

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Atalay, Kadir
Staneva, Anita
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2020
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Abstract

This paper explores the effects of experiencing the death of a spouse, relative or close friend on cognitive functioning of Australian elderly. Using rich longitudinal data, we show that experiencing a loss is associated with a modest decline in cognitive function. Our results show that on average the effects are more pronounced for males and the strongest effects are associated with the loss of the spouse or a close friend. These events have significant effects on working memory and speed of information processing. We show that the decrease in cognitive functioning is accompanied by decreases in engagement in cognitive activities and declines in socialization. Our results are suggestive that programmes to support grieving individuals, including support for socialization activities, and extending active aging programmes could be important for promoting successful cognitive aging for the growing population of older adults.

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Economics & Human Biology

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39

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© 2020 Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Licence, which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, providing that the work is properly cited.

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Applied economics

Health sciences

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Atalay, K; Staneva, A, The Effect of Bereavement on Cognitive Functioning among Elderly People: Evidence from Australia, Economics & Human Biology, 2020

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