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Study of an old Man's Profile - Galleria degli Uffizi - Firenze
Sense of coherence, well being and cognitive functions in ageing Torna agli editoriali

di
Georgiy Korobeynikov

Abstract
The aim of investigation was to study relation of the subjective estimation of sense of coherence and well-being life-satisfaction with cognitive functions in ageing. Two groups: 60 townspeople aged 35-82 and 60 village people aged 32-85 was examined. The results are showed that differences between town and village people there are no statistically significant. At the same time average age in town group is higher than in village group. This circumstance indicates bigger ageing conservation of cognitive functions among town people than among village people. Apart from this it can be supposed that subjective well-being estimations among town group are higher than among corresponding village group. This fact can characterise higher probability of low health behavioural among village people than among town people. According to results the sense of coherence among town people determined first of all by condition of cognitive functions. Exclusion for village people is shown in relation of cognitive functions with meaningfulness.

Introduction
Human behavioural reactions are complex and many-sided. Psychic activity provokes emotional states, which change the objective parameters. In result the determination of psychic state is very complicated.

There are many data about stress aspects (Mullan, 1981) and human psychological adaptation to social tension condition (Vercrussen, 1991; File,1993). But, there are no criteria, which show the anxiety with subjective estimation of coherence and well-being life-satisfaction.

The difficulties in differentiating of subjective and objective psychical characteristics are observed in modern psychological diagnostic (Leonova, 1984). Ageing changes of the healthy state are more complicate of psychological diagnostic of elderly patients (Korkushko O.V., Chebotarev D.F., Kalinovskaya E.G., 1993). Modern gerontology research shows a decline in the cognitive functions especially memory and thinking (Monk, 1990; Arbuckle, Conney, Milne & Melchior; 1994; Falkenstein, Hohnsbein, Hoorman, 2000). However, reduction of cognitive functions may be related with psychopathologies that don't include ageing influences (Mullan, 1981). Unfortunately, studies on the relation between subjective psychical estimations and cognitive functions are lacking.
Thus, the aim of investigation was to study relation of the subjective estimation of sense of coherence and well-being life-satisfaction with cognitive functions in ageing.

Methods
This presentation is a small part of pilot studying of the European survey on ageing protocol (Chairs of International project Prof. Johannes J.F. Schroots (NL) and Prof. Georg Rudinger (DE), Coordinate: Dr. Rocio Fernandez-Ballesteros (ES); the supervisor of National project Prof. Vladislav Bezrukov (Ukraine), Co-ordinates: Dr. Alexander Polukhov, Dr. Vera Chaikovskaya, 1998).
Two groups: 60 townspeople (Kiev) aged 40-82 and 60 village people (Hodosiivka, Kiev-Sviatoshin region) aged 40-85 were examined.

The life-satisfaction and well being were studied in Well-Being/Happiness Questions (Lykken & Tellegen, 1966). Was examined of Ukrainian version Well-Being/Happiness Questions. The first question deals with the extent of contentedness and happiness feel, when looking at life now. The patient can indicate her opinion by marking one of the numbers from1 to 4, which best expresses, her feeling. Number 1 would mean an extremely low level, whereas number 4 would indicate an extremely high level of contentedness

The following four question ask about the level of agreement or disagreement:

Expected Response Time: 1 min.
The subjective estimation of sense of coherence was studied by Sense of Coherence Questionnaire (Antonovsky, 1983).
Here is a series of questions on various aspects of life. Each question has seven possible answers. The person has instruction: "… Please mark the number, which expresses your answer, with numbers 1 and 7 being the extreme answers. If the words under 1 are right for you, circle 1; if the words under 7 are right for you, circle 7. If you feel differently, circle the number, which best expresses you're feeling. Please give only one answer to each question".
If the respondent is not able to self-administer this instrument, the interviewer should read the statements and mark in the appropriate category.

C = Comprehension, MA = Manageability, ME = Meaningfulness.

Expected response time: 8 min. The Ukrainian version of the Sense of Coherence Questionnaire was examined. The used of short version (13 questions). For Sense of Coherence Questionnaire analysis was used general estimation and scales: comprehension, manageability and meaningfulness.
The Sense of Coherence Questionnaire was adapted into Russian and Ukrainian languages by working group from Institute of Gerontology under the head of Prof. Vladislav Bezrukov.
As objective criterion of cognitive functional state: memory and speed were used in the Digit Span Backwards and Digit Symbol Test (Subscale from WAIS, Wechsler, 1958).
Were used set of digits given below, say: "…Now I am going to say some numbers. Listen carefully, and when I have finished, I want you to say them backwards. For example: if I say:

7 - 1 - 9,
you say:
9 - 1 - 7.

Numbers must be presented 1 per second". If subjects given them correctly say: "…That's right". If subjects do not seem to understand, use another example. Always begin with the 3 digit series, continuing until subject fails both trials of the series. If subjects fails the 3-digits series, it is permissible to give him/her the 2-digit series and allow a 2 score, if he/she is able to reverse them. Only use 2-digit series when there is failure on both of the 3 digit series. Score is the highest number of digits correctly reversed. Maximum series 8 points.
The memory volume (MV) was evaluated in estimating the correctly memorised digits, which presented for a subject by verbal information:

MV = log2N, (1)

where N - number of the correctly memorised digits.

For Digit Symbol Test were use special symbol protocol (Wechsler, 1958). Subject has to match digits with correct symbol within 90 seconds, measured by a chronometer. The first 8 items serve as training unit (items overall: 75). Score: number of correct items. Start counting by chronometers after example. The person has interviewer: "…Below you find digits from 1 to 9. As shown in the table, each digit corresponds to a special symbol. Please choose the correct symbol for a digit and write it down in the empty boxes. Try to match a maximum of digits with correct symbol until the interviewer says, "STOP".
The information processing volume (IPV, bit) were determined by formula:

IPV = [log 2 (n / 92)* 9], (2)

where n - number correct symbol; 92 - maximum symbol in protocol; 9- number of one test solving variants.

The information processing speed (IPS, bit/s) were determined by formula:

IPS = IPV / T, (3)

where T - average time of test solving.

The average time of test solving estimated for formula:

T = [(n / 90)*92] (4)

where - 90 - maximum of test' time, s.
The formulae that are used for determination of parameters of cognitive functions are presented from our previous papers (Korobeynikov, 1999, 2001).

Results
The subjective self-estimation results of Well-being (WB) and Sense of coherence (SOC) among townspeople and village people are presented in Table 1.
As it is seen in Table 1 the differences between town and village people are not statistically significant. At the same time average age in town group is higher than in village group.


Table 1
Subjective self estimation of well-being, sense of coherence
and objective cognitive parameters among town people and village people


* - p < 0,05 for concerning previous group;

The correlation analysis showed a high negative relation of cognitive functions and subjective estimation of well-being on age: coefficient of correlation between memory volume (R =-0.44 (p<0.003)), information processing speed (R = 0.81 (p<0.001)) and well-being estimations (R =-0.32 (p<0.03).
This circumstance indicates bigger functional conservation of cognitive functions among town people than among village people. Apart from this it can be supposed that subjective well-being estimations among town group are higher than among corresponding village group.
This fact can characterise higher probability of anxiety among village people than among town people.
For study of changes and intercalation parameters of correlation analysis was used within both groups. The data of correlation analysis between subjective estimation of well being and studied parameters are presented in Table 2.

Table 2
Data of correlation between the subjective estimation of well being and sense of coherence and objective cognitive parameters in town people and village people


*- statistically significant level p < 0,05,
** - statistically significant level p < 0,01

According to analysis result the subjective estimation of well being is connected with sense of coherence, especially with manageability (Table 2). This reflects an anxiety among village people, when self-estimation of well being is determined from sense of coherence. There is independent well-being estimation from sense of coherence among town people.

The inter relation among well-being estimation and cognitive functions shows that cognitive functions among town people group is more functionally conserved than among village people group.
The data of correlation analysis between sense of coherence and cognitive function parameters are presented in Table 3.
According to data of Table 3 the sense of coherence among town people determined first of all by condition of cognitive functions. Exclusion for village people is shown in relation of cognitive functions with meaningfulness. The absence of correlation between the sense of coherence and cognitive functions among village people shows the randomicity of psychic organisation (Korobeynikov, 2002).

Table 3
Data of correlation between sense of coherence and cognitive function parameters in town people and village people


*- statistically significant level p < 0,05,
** - statistically significant level p < 0,01

Thus, the formed behavioural reaction to organisation of psychic functions is manifestation of an anxiety. The subjective estimations of satisfaction and sense of coherence can be used for studying of anxiety of people.

The ageing peculiarities of subjective psychical characteristics with parameters of cognitive functions were to study in the next part of investigation. The social status of people who are examined is not taken into account.

Average meanings of cognitive parameters in different age groups are presented in Table 4.

According to Table 4 the higher meanings of memory volume (MV), volume (IPV) and speed (IPS) of information processing are observed in age group 40-49. From age group 50-59 and over the significant decreasing of cognitive functions is showed (Table 4).

Table 4
Ageing meanings of cognitive parameters


* - p < 0,05 concerning age group 40-49;
** - p < 0,05 concerning previous age group.

The information processing volume in age groups 70-79 and 80-85 decreases more then twice in comparison with age group 40-49 (Table 4). The information processing speed (IPS) in age group 80-85 declines 1.3 times in comparison with age group 40-49 (Table 4). Volume memory (VM) in age group 80-85 decreases 1.2 times in comparison with age group 40-49 (Table 4).
At the same time the VM, IPV and IPS in age groups 50-59 and 60-69 are lower in comparison with age group 40-49, but are higher then in age group 70-79 (Table 4).
The subjective estimations of Sense of Coherence and well-being life-satisfaction in different age groups are presented in Table 5.

Table 5
Ageing estimations of Sense of Coherence and well-being life-satisfaction


* - p < 0,05 concerning age group 40-49;

According to the results the people in age group 80-85 have the worst level of well-being life-satisfaction (Table 5). The bigger estimations of well-being life satisfaction are observed in age group 40-49 (Table. 5). The next of subjective psychical parameters: sense of coherence, comprehension and especially meaningfulness in age group 80-85 are decreasing (Table 5). At the same time, the average estimations of manageability in age group 80-85 are not statistically significant among different age groups (Table 5).

Discussion
The estimations of sense of coherence and well-being life-satisfaction are related with human social status. This fact is more observed in village people in comparison with town people.
The increasing parameters of cognitive functions are corresponding with higher characteristics of sense of coherence and well-being life-satisfaction in age group 40-49.

Ageing decreasing of cognitive functions provokes the anxious psychic states. These states are displayed in decline of well-being life-satisfaction and sense of coherence. Ageing decline of subjective psychical states is a manifestation of cognitive functions activities, especially information processing.

The conservation of subjective states, well-being life-satisfaction and sense of coherence reflects one of the ageing protection mechanisms of adaptation-compensatory activity of cognitive functions.

This conclusion is in concordance with ageing theory proposed by Frolkis (1993). According to this theory, the following adaptation-compensatory mechanisms are arisen which prevent the destabilisation of ageing process.

References
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File S.E. (1993) The interplay of learning and anxiety in the elevated plus-maze. Behavioral Brain Research. 58.: 199-202.
Leonova A.B. (1984) Psychodiagnostic of human functional states. Moskovski Universitet, Moscow, 200 p.
Korkushko O.V., Chebotarev D.F., Kalinovskaya E.G. (1993) Geriatrics in therapeutically practical. Zdorovia, Kiev, 840 p.
Monk T.H. (1990) Shiftworker performance. In: Shiftwork. Occupational Medicine. State of the Art Reviews, Philadelphia, 5, 2, p. 183-198.
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Korobeiynikov G.V., (1998) Occupational stress of workers in different age. Ergonomic Practice and its Theory. Proceedings Japan. Edited by Organizing
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Frolkis V.V. (1993) Etagenesis = ontogenesis + mezogenesis + gerontogenesis. Problems of aging and longevity. 3, 4.: 291-301.

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