Link to the University of Pittsburgh Homepage
Link to the University Library System Homepage Link to the Contact Us Form

Lack of associations between rest/activity rhythms and cognition in healthy middle-aged and young adults

Miller, Megan A. (2018) Lack of associations between rest/activity rhythms and cognition in healthy middle-aged and young adults. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

Download (1MB) | Preview


Understanding contributing factors to cognitive variation in healthy middle-aged and young adults may highlight mechanisms for interventions for pathologies of cognition and cognitive decline with age. Rest activity rhythms (RARs), as a proxy for variation in circadian functioning, have been related to normative variation in cognitive functioning among older adults. However, these findings have not yet been extended to young and middle-aged adults. The two following studies aimed to address this gap by investigating the relationship between RARs and cognitive functioning in middle-aged and young adults. Healthy middle-aged participants (n = 402, M = 42.9 year old, SD = 7.29) from the Adult Health and Behavior II project (n = 218; 54.1% female; Study 1) and healthy young adults (n = 109; M = 23.74 years old, SD = 3.32) from The Effects of Dose-Dependent Sleep Disruption on Fear and Reward Study (women n = 65; 56.9%; Study 2) underwent neuropsychological testing and wore an actiwatch. Actigraphy data was used to extract RAR measures for each participant and was quantified using both parametric (rhythm height and rhythm timing) and nonparametric techniques (day-to-day stability of rhythms and rhythm fragmentation). Regression models in Study 1 and robust regression models in Study 2 were used to statistically predict cognitive performance while controlling for several demographic, sleep, and health behaviors. In Study 1, individuals who exhibited RARs with a lower height also performed better in the verbal proficiency domain relative to those with higher, more robust RARs. Post hoc analyses suggest the association is partially mediated by job type. We speculate that sedentary midday behavior required in certain jobs may obscure the circadian influence RARs. No other RAR and cognitive domain associations were found. Several factors that may contribute to the null results are considered, including using samples of convenience, potential masking of the circadian signal by sedentary job-related behavior, or the lack of a relationship between circadian variation and cognition. Additional research is required to confirm the possibility of masking by midday sedentary behavior and to test whether other measures of circadian functioning are related to cognitive performance in middle-aged and young adults.


Social Networking:
Share |


Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Miller, Megan A.mam187@pitt.eduMAM187
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairRoecklein, Kathrynkroeck@pitt.edukroeck
Committee MemberManuck, Stephen Bmanuck@pitt.eduMANUCK
Committee MemberErickson, Kirk Ikiericks@pitt.eduKIERICKS
Committee MemberHasler, Brant P.
Committee MemberGermain,
Date: 27 September 2018
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 29 June 2017
Approval Date: 27 September 2018
Submission Date: 24 July 2017
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 188
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Psychology
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Circadian, Cognition
Date Deposited: 27 Sep 2018 20:01
Last Modified: 27 Sep 2018 20:01


Monthly Views for the past 3 years

Plum Analytics

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item