Subgroups in Late Adulthood Are Associated With Cognition and Wellbeing Later in Life

Tulsi A. Radhoe*, Joost A. Agelink van Rentergem, Almar A.L. Kok, Martijn Huisman, Hilde M. Geurts

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Objectives: In this study, we aim to discover whether there are valid subgroups in aging that are defined by modifiable factors and are determinant of clinically relevant outcomes regarding healthy aging. Method: Data from interviews were collected in the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam at two measurement occasions with a 3-year interval. Input for the analyses were seven well-known vulnerability and protective factors of healthy aging. By means of community detection, we tested whether we could distinguish subgroups in a sample of 1478 participants (T1-sample, aged 61–101 years). We tested both the external validity (T1) and predictive validity (T2) for wellbeing and subjective cognitive decline. Moreover, replicability and long-term stability were determined in 1186 participants (T2-sample, aged 61–101 years). Results: Three similar subgroups were identified at T1 and T2. Subgroup A was characterized by high levels of education with personal vulnerabilities, subgroup B by being physically active with low support and low levels of education, and subgroup C by high levels of support with low levels of education. Subgroup C showed the lowest wellbeing and memory profile, both at T1 and T2. On most measures of wellbeing and memory, subgroups A and B did not differ from each other. At T2, the same number of subgroups was identified and subgroup profiles at T1 and T2 were practically identical. Per T1 subgroup 47–62% retained their membership at T2. Discussion: We identified valid subgroups that replicate over time and differ on external variables at current and later measurement occasions. Individual change in subgroup membership over time shows that transitions to subgroups with better outcomes are possible.

Original languageEnglish
Article number780575
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2021

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