Executive Function Predicts Self-Rated Health in Non-Demented Community Dwellers

Saturday, 21 July 2018: 8:50 AM

Kyoung Suk Lee, PhD, MPH, RN1
Mi Sook Jung, PhD, RN2
Hyeri Yun, MSN3
Mijung KIM, MSN3
Hui Jin Kong, BSN3
Seong Hee Oh, BSN3
(1)College of Nursing, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea, Republic of (South)
(2)College of Nursing, Chungnam National University, Daejeon, Korea, Republic of (South)
(3)Chungnam National University, Deajeon, Korea, Republic of (South)

Purpose: Self-rated health is a comprehensive measure of health capturing the individual perception of health beyond the absence of illness. Previous studies demonstrated that self-rated health predicts future mortality. Executive function involves planning, initiating, sequencing, and monitoring of goal-directed behaviors. Decline in this function negatively affects individuals to maintain independent lives and engage in healthy lifestyle. However, there are few studies in which the relationship between executive function and self-rated health is examined. Thus, the purpose of this study was to examine whether executive function was associated with self-rated health in non-demented community dwellers.

Methods: A total of 204 individuals completed questionnaires to measure health status and subjective decline in executive function and neuropsychological tests to assess objective executive functioning. To assess self-rated health the Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) of the EuroQol was used. Participants were asked to rate their current general health on the VAS ranging from 0 (worst imaginable health status) to 100 (best imaginable health status). The subjective executive function was measured with the Attention-Fatigue Index (AFI). Each item is rated from 0 (not at all) to 10 (extremely well or a great deal) on a numeric rating scale. An average of 13 items yields a total score, with higher scores indicating better executive functioning. To examine the relationship between objective and subjective executive function and self-rated health, multiple regression analyses were conducted after adjusting for covariates (i.e., age, gender, education level, and depressive symptoms).

Results: Objective and subjective executive functions predicted self-rated health after adjusting for covariates (standardized βs 0.255, 0.314, respectively). About 25% of the variances of self-rated health were explained by objective and subjective executive functions.

Conclusion: We found that executive function is an important factor influencing individual perception of health. It is also noted that self-report of cognitive decline is also associated with self-rated health along with objectively measured cognitive function. This finding suggests the potential value of subjective cognitive function complaints of individuals, which can be easily measured, to prevent poor health status.