Contact frequency and cognitive health among older adults in Israel

Ella Schwartz, Rabia Khalaila, Howard Litwin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Objectives: The current study set out to examine the links between contact frequency with one's social network and cognitive health in later life. It assessed both direct and indirect pathways and the possible role of ethnicity in the effect of the social network on cognitive function. Method: We used data from adults aged 50 and above, which was collected in Israel as part of the Survey of Ageing, Retirement and Health (SHARE). A moderated mediation analysis was conducted to test the direct and indirect associations between contact frequency and cognitive function, as well as the moderation of these associations by population group. Three population groups were examined;–;veteran-Jews, Arabs and immigrants from the former Soviet Union. Results: Contact frequency with the close social milieu was found to be directly positively related to cognitive function. The association was also mediated by depressive symptoms, such that frequent contacts were linked to cognitive health via reduced depressive symptoms. This indirect link differed, however, among the three population groups. Conclusion: Contact frequency is important for cognitive health in the second half of life, and it operates both directly and by decreasing depressive symptoms. However, these links are not found among all ethnic groups and may, therefore, depend on the culture and social norms of each group and the meaning attributed to social ties.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1008-1016
Number of pages9
JournalAging and Mental Health
Issue number8
StatePublished - 3 Aug 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Psychosocial and cultural aspects
  • cognitive functioning
  • depression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatric Mental Health
  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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