Parenthood and Risk of Dementia among Older Adults in the U.S.

Fri, May 8, 2020 1:00 PM at Zoom meeting

Title: Parenthood and Risk of Dementia among Older Adults in the U.S.

Yan Zhang | Dissertation Proposal Defense

Time: May 8th (Friday) 1:00-2:30 pm

Committee members: Dr. Hui Liu (chair), Zhenmei Zhang, Ning Hsieh, William Chopik (Psychology Department)

Zoom link:

Meeting ID: 972-8364-2589

Password: staystrong




Parenthood is historically characterized as a normative life experience and social roles that has been proved as a factor related to parental health. Dementia and Alzheimer’s Diseases (AD) have emerged as an increasing public health concerns, but the effects of parenthood on dementia is still understudied. Guided by a life course perspective, I am proposing to investigate how parental status, intergenerational relationship, and fertility history can be associated with older adults’ risk of dementia in the U.S. Three major research questions will be discussed: (1) whether childless people are in special danger with higher risk of dementia; (2) whether relationship quality with children influences parental cognitive health; and (3) whether timing of first birth has long-term impact on parent’s risk of dementia in later life. I will also explore how these association varies by parent’s gender and marital status. This project will be based on longitudinal, national representative data, and the empirical findings will speak to policy makers and medical workers who can provide more comprehensive person-and family-centered long-term support or services to childless people, lone parents, as well as their family and friends in their caregiving roles.