Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Human Development and Family Studies

First Advisor

Daniel W. Russell

Second Advisor

Jennifer A. Margrett



Prior research demonstrates that some cognitive abilities (i.e., memory, speed of processing and reasoning) decline starting in the sixth decade of life. One mechanism underlying training interventions is cognitive strategies which can maintain or enhance abilities and associated everyday functioning. The present study focused on two research questions. First, does participation in reasoning strategy training lead to increased use of the strategies in performing reasoning tasks? Second, does participation in reasoning strategy training influence subsequent changes in indicators of everyday functioning over a five-year period? To address these issues data were analyzed from the Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly (ACTIVE) study, a large 10-year investigation of the effects of teaching cognitive strategies to a healthy sample of older adults (Jobe et al., 2001). A total of 601 participants from that study who either received the reasoning training or were assigned to a no-treatment control group were included in the analyses. Regarding the first research question, hierarchical regression analyses indicated that the reasoning training was very effective in enhancing the use of strategies by participants. Additional analyses found that the intervention was most effective for participants who were younger, better educated, and White although all groups benefited from training. Regarding the second research question, the results of growth curve modeling analyses indicated receipt of the reasoning strategy training was not related to change in functioning over the five-year period among participants. These results indicate that, although the intervention was effective in enhancing the use of reasoning strategies, these changes did not generalize to everyday functioning among this sample of older adults. Implications of these results for enhancing the cognitive abilities of older adults and improving their functional status are discussed.

Copyright Owner

Joan Blaser Baenziger



File Format


File Size

99 pages