Level of education and change in cognitive function in a community population of older persons

Denis A. Evans, Laurel A Beckett, Marilyn S. Albert, Liesi E. Hebert, Paul A. Scherr, H. Harris Funkenstein, James O. Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

239 Scopus citations


In a community population of persons over the age of 65, cognitive function was assessed using brief performance tests on two occasions 3 years apart. Those with fewer years of formal education consistently had greater declines in cognitive function, independently of age, birthplace, language of interview, occupation, and income. These prospective findings suggest that low educational attainment or a correlate predicts cognitive decline. It is not clear, however, whether this relation represents a direct effect of education on future cognition, whether education might be related to occurrence of a disease leading to cognitive decline in older persons, or whether education might be a surrogate for some variable not included in the study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)71-77
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of Epidemiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes



  • aging
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Cognitive function
  • community studies
  • education
  • longitudinal studies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Cite this

Evans, D. A., Beckett, L. A., Albert, M. S., Hebert, L. E., Scherr, P. A., Funkenstein, H. H., & Taylor, J. O. (1993). Level of education and change in cognitive function in a community population of older persons. Annals of Epidemiology, 3(1), 71-77. https://doi.org/10.1016/1047-2797(93)90012-S