Method: We assessed tests of immediate and delayed cued recall and working memory in 701 older adults. We measured systolic blood pressure and interviewed individuals on their education, past occupation, and cognitive leisure activity.
Results: Hypertension (≥140 mmHg) was related to lower performance in all three cognitive measures. Moderation analyses suggested that these relations were reduced in individuals with greater engaging in cognitive leisure activity. Hierarchical regression analyses showed that hypertension was not related to any of the three investigated cognitive performance measures when education, cognitive level of job, and cognitive leisure activity were simultaneously taken into account.
Discussion: The detrimental influences of hypertension on cognitive functioning in old age may be reduced in individuals with greater cognitive reserve accumulated during the life course.