The association between actor/partner #optimism and #cognitive functioning among older couples

Higher optimism has been linked with health, well‐being, and cognitive functioning. Spouses also play an important role on people’s health, especially in older adulthood..

..Optimism was assessed at baseline (t1) and cognition was measured every two years with up to five repeated assessments of cognition data over the 8‐year follow‐up period (t1; t2; t3; t4; t5).


Results from multi‐level dyadic data analyses showed small but positive associations between actor optimism and actor cognitive functioning (memory: r = .16, mental status = .10), as well as partner optimism and actor cognitive functioning (memory: r = .04, mental status = .03). These associations mostly persisted over time.


Participants’ own optimism and their partner’s optimism were both positively associated with cognitive functioning. Thus, with further research, optimism (at both the individual and couple level) might emerge as an innovative intervention target that helps adults maintain cognitive functioning as they age.