Impact of sociodemographic variables on executive functions
Kenia Repiso Campanholo1; Izadora Nogueira Fonte Boa1; Flávia Cristina da Silva Araujo Hodroj1; Glaucia Rosana Benute Guerra1; Eliane Correa Miotto2; Mara Cristina Souza de Lucia1
keywords: aging, socioeconomic factors, executive function.
Executive functions (EFs) regulate human behavior and allow individuals to interact and act in the world. EFs are sensitive to sociodemographic variables such as age, which promotes their decline, and to others that can exert a neuroprotective effect.
OBJECTIVE: To assess the predictive role of education, occupation and family income on decline in executive functions among a sample with a wide age range.
METHODS: A total of 925 participants aged 18-89 years with 1-28 years' education were submitted to assessment of executive functions using the Card Sorting Test (CST), Phonemic Verbal Fluency (FAS) Task and Semantic Verbal Fluency (SVF) Task. Data on income, occupation and educational level were collected for the sample. The data were analyzed using Linear Regression, as well as Pearson's and Spearman's Correlation.
RESULTS: Age showed a significant negative correlation (p<0.001) with performance on the CST, FAS and SVF, whereas education, income and occupation were positively associated (p<0.001) with the tasks applied. After application of the multivariate linear regression model, a significant positive relationship with the FAS was maintained only for education (p<0.001) and income (p<0.001). The negative relationship of age (p<0.001) and positive relationship of both education (p<0.001) and income (p<0.001 and p=0.003) were evident on the CST and SVF.
CONCLUSION: Educational level and income positively influenced participants' results on executive function tests, attenuating expected decline for age. However, no relationship was found between occupation and the cognitive variables investigated.