Background/Purpose: The short- and long-term impacts of behavioral and psychological factors on the diabetes and cognitive function relationship are not fully understood. This study examined levels and rates of change in age trajectories of cognitive function in middle-aged and older adults with and without diabetes who participated in different health behaviors. Methods: Participants aged 53 and above with and without diabetes were drawn from the 1999 Taiwan Longitudinal Study of Aging (N = 4076, mean age 69.3, SD = 9.1). Cognitive function was measured with the 9-item Short Portable Mental Status Questionnaire (SPMSQ) in 1999, 2003, and 2007. Lifestyle and psychosocial variables were measured in 1996, 1999, and 2003 as lagged time-varying covariates in random effects model analyses. Results: Adults with diabetes had significantly lower levels of (βdiabetes = −.212, p <.001) cognitive function, compared to those without diabetes, net of the effects of key sociodemographic and comorbidity covariates. The addition of exercise, social support, and depressive symptoms to the analytic models reduced the diabetes impact to non-significance. Exercise alone explained 33 % of the variation in the age trajectory. Only diet behavior showed a significant interaction effect with age (βdiet*age =.011, p <.05). Conclusions: This population-based longitudinal study provides evidence for the prospective effects of psychobehavioral factors in preserving cognitive function for at least 3 to 4 years in adults with or without diabetes, a result supporting psychoneuroendocrinology studies linking stress and stress hormones to cognitive function, potentially informing treatment options for diabetes care.
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