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Project 3 - Cognitive Functioning


The Cognitive Functioning study is Project 3 of the MIDUS longitudinal study, a national survey of more than 7,000 Americans (aged 25 to 74) began in 1994. The purpose of the study was to investigate the role of behavioral, psychological, and social factors in understanding age-related differences in physical and mental health. With support from the National Institute on Aging, a longitudinal follow-up of the original MIDUS samples [core sample (n = 3,487), metropolitan over-samples (n = 757), twins (n = 957 pairs), and siblings (n = 950)] was conducted in 2004-2006. Guiding hypotheses, at the most general level, were that behavioral and psychosocial factors are consequential for health (physical and mental).

The purpose of the Cognitive Project of MIDUS 2 was to determine how cognition is related to overall mental and physical health. Specific goals were: (1) to characterize the nature and range of midlife cognitive performance, relative to those younger and older, across multiple domains in a nationally representative sample (MIDUS); and (2) to examine the relationship between biopsychosocial factors (e.g., SES, health status, health-promoting behaviors, metabolic and cardiovascular biomarkers, depression, personality, control beliefs, stressful life events) and individual differences in cognitive functioning. The development of a cognitive battery for the second wave of testing of the Midlife Development in the United States (MIDUS) study provided an opportunity to examine the cognitive performance of young, middle-aged and older adults from a wide range of education levels in a large-scale, national sample. As part of the Cognitive Project of the MIDUS 2 the Brief Test of Adult Cognition by Telephone (BTACT) (Lachman & Tun, 2008; Tun & Lachman, 2006) was administered. More information about the BTACT can be found at www.brandeis.edu/projects/lifespan. The BTACT represents the first comprehensive cognitive battery, including measures of speed and reaction time, to be administered by telephone to a national sample across the adult years and into later life. With a response rate of over 86 % for the cognitive testing component of the MIDUS 2, a cognitive data set of unprecedented range in terms of age, gender, socioeconomic status (SES), education, and geographic diversity was produced.

Project 3 Documentation

©2011 University of Wisconsin - Madison, Institute on Aging