Skip to main content Accessibility help

Cognitive reserve and working memory in cognitive performance of adults with subjective cognitive complaints: longitudinal structural equation modeling

  • Cristina Lojo-Seoane (a1), David Facal (a1), Joan Guàrdia-Olmos (a2), Arturo X. Pereiro (a1), María Campos-Magdaleno (a1), Sabela C. Mallo (a1) and Onésimo Juncos-Rabadán (a1)...



To study the influence of cognitive reserve (CR) on cognitive performance of individuals with subjective cognitive complaints (SCCs) within a period of 36 months.


We used a general linear model repeated measures procedure to analyze the differences in performance between three assessments. We used a longitudinal structural equation modeling to analyze the relationship between CR and cognitive performance at baseline and at two follow-up assessments.


Participants with SCCs were recruited and assessed in primary care health centers.


A total of 212 participants older than 50 years with SCCs.


Cognitive reserve data were collected with an ad hoc questionnaire administered to the subjects in an interview. General cognitive performance (GCP), episodic memory (EM), and working memory (WM) have been evaluated. The Mini-Mental State Examination and the total score of Spanish version of the Cambridge Cognitive Examination evaluated the GCP. Episodic memory was assessed with the Spanish version of the California Verbal Learning. Working memory was evaluated by the counting span task and the listening span task.


The satisfactory fit of the proposed model confirmed the direct effects of CR on WM and GCP at baseline, as well as indirect effects on EM and WM at first and second follow-up. Indirect effects of CR on other cognitive constructs via WM were observed over time.


The proposed model is useful for measuring the influence of CR on cognitive performance over time. Cognitive response acquired throughout life may influence cognitive performance in old age and prevent cognitive deterioration, thus increasing processing resources via WM.


Corresponding author

Correspondence should be addressed to: Cristina Lojo-Seoane, Departamento de Psicoloxía Evolutiva e da Educación, Universidade de Santiago de Compostela. Rúa Xosé María Suárez Núñez, s/n; Campus Vida. 15782 Santiago de Compostela, España, Spain. Phone: + 34 600 942 412; Fax: + 34 881 813 901. Email:


Hide All
Albert et al. (2011). The diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment due to Alzheimer’s disease: recommendations from the National Institute on Aging-Alzheimer’s Association workgroups on diagnostic guidelines for Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s and Dementia, 7, 270279. doi:10.1016/j.jalz.2011.03.008
Belleville, S., Sylvain-Roy, S., de Boysson, C. and Ménard, M. C. (2008). Characterizing the memory changes in persons with mild cognitive impairment. In: Sossin, W. S., Lacaille, J.-C., Castellucci, V. F. and Belleville, S. (Eds.), Progress in Brain Research Essence of Memory(pp. 365375). Amsterdam, Netherlands: Elsevier Science. doi:10.1016/S0079-6123(07)00023-4
Benedet, M. J. and Alejandre, M. A. (1998). TAVEC: Test de Aprendizaje Verbal España-Complutense. Madrid: TEA Ediciones.
Campos-Magdaleno, M., Facal, D., Lojo-Seoane, C., Pereiro, A. X. and Juncos-Rabadán, O. (2017). Longitudinal assessment of verbal learning and memory in amnestic mild cognitive impairment: practice effects and meaningful changes. Frontiers in Psychology, 8, 1231. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01231
Case, R., Kurland, M. D. and Goldberg, J. (1982). Operational efficiency and the growth of short-term memory span. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 33, 386404. doi:10.1016/0022-0965(82)90054-6
Chapko, D., McCormack, R., Black, C., Staff, R. and Murray, A. (2017). Life-course determinants of cognitive reserve (CR) in cognitive aging and dementia – a systematic literature review. Aging and Mental Health, 13, 112. doi:10.1080/13607863.2017.1348471
Constantinidou, F., Zaganas, I., Papastefanakis, E., Kasselimis, D., Nidos, A. and Simos, P. G. (2014). Age-related decline in verbal learning is moderated by demographic factors, working memory capacity, and presence of amnestic mild cognitive impairment. Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, 20, 114. doi:10.1017/S1355617714000678
Cullum, al. (2000). Decline across different domains of cognitive functions in normal ageing: results of a longitudinal population-based study using CAMCOG. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 15, 853862. doi:10.1002/10991166(200009)15:9,853:AID-GPS211.3.0.CO;2-T
Daneman, M. and Carpenter, P. A. (1980). Individual differences in working memory and reading. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behaviour, 19, 450466. doi:10.1016/S0022–5371(80)90312-6
Delis, D. C., Kramer, J. H., Kaplen, E. and Ober, B. A. (1987). Californian Verbal Learning Test. Manual-research edition. San Diego: The Psychological Corporation.
Dufouil, C., Fuhrer, R. and Alpérovitch, A. (2005). Subjective cognitive complaints and cognitive decline: consequence or predictor? The epidemiology of vascular aging study. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 53, 616621. doi:
Dunn, L. M. and Dunn, L. M. (1981). Peabody picture vocabulary test- revised. Circle Pines: American Guidance Service.
Economou, A., Papageorgiou, S., Karageorgiou, C. and Vassilopoulos, D. (2007). Nonepisodic memory deficits in amnestic MCI. Cognitive and Behavioral Neurology, 20, 99106. doi:10.1097/WNN.0b013e31804c6fe7
Facal, D., Guàrdia-Olmos, J. and Juncos-Rabadán, O. (2015). Diagnostic transitions in mild cognitive impairment by use of simple Markov models. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 30, 669676. doi:10.1002/gps.4197
Facal, D., Juncos-Rabadán, O., Pereiro, A. X. and Lojo-Seoane, C. (2014). Working memory span in mild cognitive impairment. Influence of processing speed and cognitive reserve. International Psychogeriatrics, 26, 615625. doi:10.1017/S1041610213002391
Facal, D., Valladares- Rodríguez, S., Lojo-Seoane, C., Pereiro, A. X., Anido-Rifón, L. and Juncos-Rabadán, O. (2019). Machine learning approaches to studying the role of cognitive reserve in conversion from mild cognitive impairment to dementia. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 34, 941949. doi:10.1002/gps.5090
Ferreira, al. (2016). Different reserve proxies confer overlapping and unique endurance to cortical thinning in healthy middle-aged adults. Behavioural Brain Research, 311, 375383. doi:10.1016/j.bbr.2016.05.061
Folstein, M. F., Folstein, S. E. and McHogh, P. R. (1975). “Mini-mental state.” Apractical method for grading the cognitive state of patients for the clinician. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 12, 189198.
Gagnon, L. G. and Belleville, S. (2011). Working memory in mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease: contribution of forgetting and predictive value of complex span tasks. Neuropsychology, 25, 226236. doi:10.1037/a0020919
Garibotto, al. (2008). Education and occupation as proxies for reserve in aMCI converters and AD FDG-PET evidence. Neurology, 71, 13421349. doi:10.1212/01.wnl.0000327670.62378.c0
Giogkaraki, E., Michaelides, M. P. and Constantinidou, F. (2013). The role of cognitive reserve in cognitive aging: results from the neurocognitive study on aging. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, 35, 10241035. doi:10.1080/13803395.2013.847906
Hertzog, C., Kramer, A. F., Wilson, R. S. and Lindenberger, U. (2008). Enrichment effects on adult cognitive development: can the functional capacity of older adults be preserved and enhanced? Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 9, 165. doi:10.1111/j.1539-6053.2009.01034.x
Hu, L. and Bentler, P. (1999). Cutoff criteria for fit indices in covariance structure analysis: conventional criteria versus new alternatives. Structural Equation Modelling, 6, 155. doi:10.1080/10705519909540118
Jack, C. al. (2018). NIA-AA research framework: toward a biological definition of Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s & Dementia, 14, 535562. doi:10.1016/j.jalz.2018.02.018
Jones, R. H., Manly, J., Glymour, M. M., Rentz, D. M., Jefferson, A. L., and Stern, Y. (2011). Conceptual and measurement challenges in research on cognitive reserve. Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, 17, 19. doi:10.1017/S1355617710001748
Juncos-Rabadán, al. (2012). Prevalence and correlates of cognitive impairment in adults with subjective memory complaints in primary care centres. Dementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders, 33, 226232. doi:10.1159/000338607
Lobo, A., Saz, P., Marcos, G., Día, J. L., de la Cámara, C. and Ventura, T. (1999). Revalidación y normalización del mini- examen cognoscitivo (primera versión en castellano del Mini-Mental Status Examination) en la población general geriátrica. Medicina Clínica, 112, 767774.
Lojo-Seoane, C., Facal, D., Guàrdia-Olmos, J. and Juncos-Rabadán, O. (2014). Structural model for estimating the influence of cognitive reserve on cognitive performance in adults with subjective memory complaints. Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology, 29, 245255. doi:10.1093/arclin/acu007
Lojo-Seoane, C., Facal, D., Guàrdia-Olmos, J. and Juncos-Rabadán, O. (2018). Effects of cognitive reserve in a follow-up study in adults with subjective cognitive complaints. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, 10, 189. doi:10.3389/fnagi.2018.00189
Lojo-Seoane, C., Facal, D., Juncos-Rabadán, O. and Pereiro, A. X. (2014). El nivel de vocabulario como indicador de reserva cognitiva en la evaluación del deterioro cognitivo ligero. Anales de Psicología, 30, 11151121. doi:10.6018/analesps.30.3.158481
López-Pousa, S. (2003). CAMDEX-R: Prueba de exploración Cambridge revisada para la valoración de los trastornos mentales en la vejez. Adaptación española. Madrid: TEA Ediciones.
Mazzeo, al. (2019). The dual role of cognitive reserve in subjective cognitive decline and mild cognitive impairment: a 7-year follow-up study. Journal of Neurology, 266, 487497.
Mitchell, A. J., Beaumont, H., Ferguson, D., Yadegarfar, M. and Stubbs, B. (2014). Risk of dementia and mild cognitive impairment in older people with subjective memory complaints: meta-analysis. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 130, 439451. doi:10.1111/acps.12336
Mungas, D., Gavett, B., Fletcher, E., Farias, S. T., DeCarli, C. and Reed, B. (2018). Education amplifies brain atrophy effect on cognitive decline: implications for cognitive reserve. Neurobiology of Aging, 68, 142150. doi:10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2018.04.002
Pereiro, A. X., Ramos-Lema, S., Juncos-Rabadán, O., Facal, D. and Lojo-Seoane, C. (2015). Cambridge cognitive examination-revised: a normative study in a healthy spanish sample. Psicothema, 27, 3239. doi:10.7334/psicothema2014.169
Petersen, R. C. (2004). Mild cognitive impairment as a diagnostic entity. Journal of Internal Medicine, 256, 183194. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2796.2004.01388.x
Petersen, R. C., Smith, G. E., Waring, S. C., Ivnik, R. J., Tangalos, E. G. and Kokmmen, E. (1999). Mild cognitive impairment: clinical characterization and outcome. Archives of Neurology, 56, 303308. doi:10.1001/archneur.56.3.303
Pickering, S. J., Baqués, J. and Gathercole, S. E. (1999). Batería de test de memoria de trabajo. Barcelona: Laboratori de Memoria de la Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona. No comercializada.
Reed, B. al. (2010). Measuring cognitive reserve based on the decomposition of episodic memory variance. Brain a Journal of Neurology, 133, 21962209. doi:10.1093/brain/awq154us
Reisberg, B. and Gauthier, S. (2008). Current evidence for subjective cognitive impairment (SCI) as the pre-mild cognitive impairment (MCI) stage of subsequently manifest Alzheimer’s disease. International Psychogeriatrics, 20, 116. doi:10.1017/S1041610207006412
Roth, al. (1986). CAMDEX. A standardised instrument for the diagnosis of mental disorders in the elderly with special reference to the early detection of dementia. British Journal of Psychiatry, 149, 698709. doi:10.1192/bjp.149.6.698
Salthouse, T. (1991). Mediation of adult age differences in cognition by reductions in working memory and speed of processing. Psychological Science, 2, 179183. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9280.1991.tb00127.x
Sandry, J., DeLuca, J. and Chiaravalloti, N. (2015). Working memory capacity links cognitive reserve with long-term memory in moderate to severe TBI: a translational approach. Journal of Neurology, 262, 5964. doi:10.1007/s00415-014-7523-4
Sandry, J. and Sumowski, J. F. (2014). Working memory mediates the relationship between intellectual enrichment and long-term memory in multiple sclerosis: an exploratory analysis of cognitive reserve. Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, 20, 868872. doi:10.1017/S1355617714000630
Stern, al. (2018). Whitepaper: defining and investigating cognitive reserve, brain reserve, and brain maintenance. Alzheimer’s & Dementia. doi:10.1016/j.jalz.2018.07.219
Sumowski, J. al. (2014). Brain reserve and cognitive reserve protect against cognitive decline over 4.5 years in MS. Neurology, 82, 17761783. doi:10.1212/WNL.0000000000000433
Tucker, A. M. and Stern, Y. (2011). Cognitive reserve in aging. Current Alzheimer Research, 8, 354360. doi:10.2174/15672051179574532
Van Oijen, M., Jan de Jong, F., Hofman, A., Koudstaal, P. J. and Bretelera, M. M. B (2007). Subjective memory complaints, education, and risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s & Dementia, 3, 9297. doi:10.1016/j.jalz.2007.01.011
Vaughan, L., Erickson, K. I., Espeland, M. A., Smith, C., Tindle, H. A. and Rapp, S. R. (2014). Concurrent and longitudinal relationships between cognitive activity, cognitive performance, and brain volume in older adult women. Journals of Gerontology, Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 69, 826836. doi:10.1093/geronb/gbu109
Verghese, al. (2006). Leisure activities and the risk of amnestic mild cognitive impairment in the elderly. Neurology, 66, 821827. doi:10.1212/01.wnl.0000202520.68987.48
Wechsler, D. (Ed.) (1988). WAIS-R: Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale- Revised. Oxford: Psychological Corporation.
Wilson, R. S., Scherr, P. A., Schneider, J. A., Tang, Y. and Bennett, D. A. (2007). Relation of cognitive activity to risk of developing Alzheimer disease. Neurology, 69, 19111920. doi:10.1212/01.wnl.0000271087.67782


Cognitive reserve and working memory in cognitive performance of adults with subjective cognitive complaints: longitudinal structural equation modeling

  • Cristina Lojo-Seoane (a1), David Facal (a1), Joan Guàrdia-Olmos (a2), Arturo X. Pereiro (a1), María Campos-Magdaleno (a1), Sabela C. Mallo (a1) and Onésimo Juncos-Rabadán (a1)...


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed.