Objectives: This study examines the longitudinal relationships between retrospective reports of early-life social relationships (i.e., having good friends, parent-child relationship quality, and childhood neighborhood social cohesion) and episodic memory in China. Methods: We analyzed 2 waves of data (2011 and 2015) from the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study. The analytical sample included 9,285 respondents aged 45 and older at baseline. A lagged dependent variable approach was used to estimate the associations between measures of early-life social relationships and episodic memory change at the study's 4-year follow-up. Results: Retrospective reports of better early-life social relationships are significantly associated with higher levels of episodic memory performance in 2015 among middle-aged and older Chinese, controlling for episodic memory in 2011, childhood socioeconomic status, adulthood sociodemographic variables, and the history of stroke. Educational attainment accounts for a significant portion of the associations between early-life social relationships and episodic memory. In contrast, mental health and social engagement in adulthood account for a small part of these associations. Discussion: The findings suggest that positive early-life social relationships are beneficial for episodic memory in mid- and late life, and more research is needed to examine the underlying mechanisms.
|Number of pages||10|
|Journal||Journals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences|
|State||Published - Dec 1 2021|
- Parent-child relationship