How cognitive reserve influences older adults’ cognitive state, executive functions and language comprehension: A structural equation model.

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Cognitive reserve has been defined as the individuals’ ability to tolerate age-related and neurodegenerative changes in the brain without developing clinical symptoms or signs of disease. Formal education, occupational attainment, and knowledge of other languages have been assessed as the most relevant factors determining cognitive reserve. The main objective of this study was to develop a structural equation model that reflects the direct influence of cognitive reserve on old adults’ general cognitive status and executive functioning, and indirectly on sentence comprehension performance through executive functions mediation. One hundred and fifty-eight Spanish-speaking older adults, cognitively intact, were assessed to obtain cognitive reserve data, general cognitive status, executive functioning (inhibitory control, working memory and cognitive flexibility), and sentence comprehension measures. High indicators of adjustment of the proposed model were obtained. The most related factors to cognitive reserve were education and occupational attainment. As we hypothesize, cognitive reserve had a higher direct significant relation to cognitive status and, in a lesser extent, to executive functioning. Participants‘ general cognitive status and executive function were high and directly related. Furthermore, cognitive reserve has an indirect positive relation to sentence comprehension via executive functions’ mediation