Research Paper Volume 10, Issue 7 pp 1542—1555
Locus of control as a modifiable risk factor for cognitive function in midlife
- 1 MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit at the University of Bristol, Bristol BS8 2BN, UK
- 2 Centre for Child and Adolescent Health, Bristol Medical School, University of Bristol, Oakfield House, Oakfield Grove, Bristol BS8 2BN, UK
- 3 Department of Psychology, PAIS Building, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA
received: May 15, 2018 ; accepted: June 21, 2018 ; published: July 12, 2018 ;https://doi.org/10.18632/aging.101490
How to Cite
Copyright: Anderson et al. This is an open‐access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Few modifiable risk factors for cognitive decline have been identified. Despite an external locus of control (LoC) being adversely associated with many psychological and physical health outcomes, few studies have examined whether it is related to cognitive function in adulthood. In 1178 women from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children, we examined whether LoC, and change in LoC over time, is associated with cognitive function in midlife. LoC was prospectively measured at mean ages 30 and 48 years using the validated Nowicki-Strickland scale. Cognitive function was examined at mean age 51 years. At both time points, greater externality was associated with lower cognitive function. For example, the group of women classified as being external at mean age 48 years had, on average, a 0.18 lower cognitive function score (95% CI: (0.11 to 0.25) than the group classified as being internal (p<0.001). Participants who changed from external to internal over time, on average, had better cognitive function than those who remained external or changed to become external. In summary, an external LoC may be detrimental to cognitive function. Thus, interventions to increase internality may help to minimise the adverse consequences on cognitive health later in life.