Stress-related cognitive interference predicts cognitive function in old age

Robert S. Stawski, Martin J. Sliwinski, Joshua M. Smyth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

89 Scopus citations


Both subjective distress and cognitive interference have been proposed as mechanisms underlying the negative effects of stress on cognition. Studies of aging have shown that distress is associated with lower cognitive performance, but none have examined the effects of cognitive interference. One hundred eleven older adults (M age = 80) completed measures of working memory, processing speed, and episodic memory as well as self-report measures of subjective distress and cognitive interference. Cognitive interference was strongly associated with poorer performance on all 3 cognitive constructs, whereas distress was only modestly associated with lower working memory. The results suggest that cognitive process related to stress is an important predictor of cognitive function in advanced age.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)535-544
Number of pages10
JournalPsychology and aging
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Aging
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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