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Operationalizing Social Environments in Cognitive Aging and Dementia Research: A Scoping Review

1
Department of Neurology, University of California Davis, Sacramento, CA 95817, USA
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Department of Psychology, University of California Davis, Davis, CA 95616, USA
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Department of Physiology and Membrane Biology, University of California Davis, Davis, CA 95616, USA
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Kaiser Permanente Northern California Division of Research, Oakland, CA 94612, USA
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Center for Health Disparities Research, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, WI 53726, USA
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Health Services and Care Research Program, Department of Medicine, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, WI 53726, USA
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Department of Medicine, Division of Geriatrics and Gerontology, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, WI 53726, USA
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Geriatrics Research Education and Clinical Center, Department of Veterans Affairs, Madison, WI 53726, USA
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Public Health Sciences, Division of Epidemiology, University of California Davis, Davis, CA 95616, USA
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Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, University of California Davis, Sacramento, CA 95817, USA
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Department of Urban and Regional Planning, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL 33431, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Paul B. Tchounwou
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(13), 7166; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18137166
Received: 14 May 2021 / Revised: 29 June 2021 / Accepted: 30 June 2021 / Published: 4 July 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social and Built Environments and Healthy Brain Aging)
Background: Social environments are a contributing determinant of health and disparities. This scoping review details how social environments have been operationalized in observational studies of cognitive aging and dementia. Methods: A systematic search in PubMed and Web of Science identified studies of social environment exposures and late-life cognition/dementia outcomes. Data were extracted on (1) study design; (2) population; (3) social environment(s); (4) cognitive outcome(s); (5) analytic approach; and (6) theorized causal pathways. Studies were organized using a 3-tiered social ecological model at interpersonal, community, or policy levels. Results: Of 7802 non-duplicated articles, 123 studies met inclusion criteria. Eighty-four studies were longitudinal (range 1–28 years) and 16 examined time-varying social environments. When sorted into social ecological levels, 91 studies examined the interpersonal level; 37 examined the community/neighborhood level; 3 examined policy level social environments; and 7 studies examined more than one level. Conclusions: Most studies of social environments and cognitive aging and dementia examined interpersonal factors measured at a single point in time. Few assessed time-varying social environmental factors or considered multiple social ecological levels. Future studies can help clarify opportunities for intervention by delineating if, when, and how social environments shape late-life cognitive aging and dementia outcomes. View Full-Text
Keywords: social ecological model; social context social ecological model; social context
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MDPI and ACS Style

Peterson, R.L.; George, K.M.; Tran, D.; Malladi, P.; Gilsanz, P.; Kind, A.J.H.; Whitmer, R.A.; Besser, L.M.; Meyer, O.L. Operationalizing Social Environments in Cognitive Aging and Dementia Research: A Scoping Review. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 7166. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18137166

AMA Style

Peterson RL, George KM, Tran D, Malladi P, Gilsanz P, Kind AJH, Whitmer RA, Besser LM, Meyer OL. Operationalizing Social Environments in Cognitive Aging and Dementia Research: A Scoping Review. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021; 18(13):7166. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18137166

Chicago/Turabian Style

Peterson, Rachel L., Kristen M. George, Duyen Tran, Pallavi Malladi, Paola Gilsanz, Amy J.H. Kind, Rachel A. Whitmer, Lilah M. Besser, and Oanh L. Meyer 2021. "Operationalizing Social Environments in Cognitive Aging and Dementia Research: A Scoping Review" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 18, no. 13: 7166. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18137166

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