Spiritual activity is associated with better cognitive function in old age

Ada Wai Tung Fung, L. C.W. Lam

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: This cross-sectional study aimed to explore the association between late-life spiritual activity participation and cognitive function in older Chinese adults in Hong Kong. Methods: Participants aged 60 years or older without clinical dementia or major psychiatric disorders were recruited. Dementia severity and global cognitive function were assessed using the Clinical Dementia Rating and Cantonese version of the Mini-Mental State Examination, respectively. Cognitive performance was measured using 10-minute delayed recall, the Category Verbal Fluency Test, Visual Aural Digit Span Test, and Modified Card Sorting Test. Psychological status was assessed using the Chinese version of the Purpose in Life scale. Activities participated in were categorised into 6 domains of physical, cognitive, social, prosocial, spiritual, and recreational activities. Results: A total of 380 participants were enrolled. Bivariate correlation showed that the composite score of cognitive function was positively correlated with aerobic exercise (r = 0.14; p = 0.01), cognitive activity (r = 0.30; p < 0.001), and spiritual activity (r = 0.16; p = 0.002). Multiple linear regression suggested that frequent participation in cognitive activity (B = 0.87, beta = 0.22; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.52-1.25 and p < 0.001) and spiritual activity (B = 0.45, beta = 0.11; 95% CI = 0.13-0.76 and p = 0.01) were associated with better cognitive function after controlling for age and years of education. Conclusion: Engagement in spiritual activity may benefit cognitive function in old age. Longitudinal studies are recommended to further examine the causal relationship of spiritual activity and cognitive function.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)102-108
Number of pages7
JournalEast Asian Archives of Psychiatry
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Aged
  • Cognition
  • Life style
  • Spirituality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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