Stability of sex differences in cognition in advanced old age: The role of education and attrition

Denis Gerstorf, Agneta Herlitz, Jacqui Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

83 Scopus citations


We examined whether patterns of sex differences on tasks of perceptual speed, episodic memory, verbal fluency, and verbal knowledge are maintained during advanced old age. Using incomplete 13-year longitudinal data from participants in the Berlin Aging Study screened for dementia (N = 368; M = 83 years; range 70-100 years at baseline assessment), we estimated sex-specific age trajectories of cognitive change and explored the contributing role of education and attrition. We found that women and men declined virtually in parallel, with no evidence of differential change. After we controlled for age cohort-related differences in education, women outperformed men on tasks in the four cognitive domains. Findings also provide initial evidence that sex differences might be masked by differential patterns of sample attrition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)P245-P249
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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