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Purpose: Subjective cognitive decline (SCD), or perceived decline in cognition, is a precursor to mild cognitive impairment, a prodrome of Alzheimer’s disease. SCD’s predictive utility is limited as it is impacted by multiple psychosocial factors. Expectations regarding aging among older adults have been linked to self-efficacy and health-related outcomes; however, their relationship with SCD is unknown. The aim of this cross-sectional study was to investigate the relationships between older adults’ aging expectations regarding physical, mental, and cognitive health, and SCD.

Methods: An online survey of community-dwelling adults aged 65 years or older (n=582, M(SD)=71.36(4.80)) with no history of dementia or cognitive impairment was conducted in the United States. Measures included the Expectations Regarding Aging scale (ERA-12), the Everyday Cognition scale (ECog-12), as well as demographics and self-reported health. General linear models demonstrated relationships between the physical, mental, and cognitive expectations subscales of the ERA-12 and ECog-12 scores.

Results:All three domains of aging expectations regarding physical health (b(SE)=-0.033(0.007), p

Conclusion: Older adults' aging expectations were predictive of subjective cognitive decline (SCD) across all domains, indicating a broader impact beyond cognitive function alone. Future research should explore whether this relationship holds in other patient populations, including middle-aged adults and different ethnic groups and whether interventions to modify aging expectations may promote positive perceptions of cognitive function among older adults, which can improve cognitive outcomes.

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aging expectations, subjective cognitive decline


Medicine and Health Sciences | Mental and Social Health


Presented at the 2024 AOA Research Symposium.

Aging Expectations Predict Subjective Cognitive Decline Among Community-Dwelling Older Adults