Association between social participation and cognitive function among middle- and old-aged Chinese: A fixed-effects analysis

Yongjie Zhou, Zhuo Chen, Ian Shaw, Xiang Wu, Shiming Liao, Ling Qi, Lijuan Huo, Yifeng Liu, Ruoxi Wang

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Background Social Participation (SP) is known to benefit cognitive function. However, whether the positive relationship holds across different types of SP and dimensions of cognitive function, and whether the statement stays true in middle- and oldaged Chinese have not been investigated. The present study aimed to understand the current patterns of SP and cognitive function in chianfs context, and therefore, explore the associations between cognitive function and SP at different levels from various aspects. Methods A total of 7973 community residents aged 45 years and older were selected from the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study (CHARLS, 2011-2015). A fixed-effects analysis was used to explore the association between changes in SP (diversity, frequency, and type) and that in cognitive function (memory and mental status) over a four-year period. Results Changing from no SP to more variety (β = 0.377, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.192-0.562 for 1 type, β = 0.703, 95% CI = 0.470-0.937 for ≥2 types) or higher frequency (β = 0.235, 95% CI = 0.007-0.462 for not regularly, β = 0.604, 95% CI = 0.411-0.798) of SP was associated with improvements in cognitive function. Playing mah-jong and using Internet were associated with improved memory but not with mental status. Sports and volunteering were associated with improved mental status but not with memory. The same pattern was observed in men and in women. Conclusions The study confirmed that more diversity and higher frequency of SP was associated with improved cognitive function, whereas reminded policymakers to consider cultural context when developing target strategies to improve cognitive function.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Global Health
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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