ARUK Fellowship Title
Background to the research
This research project is supported by Alzheimer’s Research UK (ARUK) and aims to investigate associations between psychological wellbeing and dementia-related outcomes.
Over a third of dementia cases result from a combination of lifestyle factors that are potentially modifiable. Research into these lifestyle factors could therefore help to prevent or delay many cases of dementia. Based on research from ADAPT Lab and that of other research groups, negative psychological states (for example, depression and anxiety) are now well recognised risk factors for dementia. However, we still don’t know whether positive psychological states (for example, psychological wellbeing) may protect against developing dementia. Psychological wellbeing is generally defined as a combination of feeling good (e.g. feeling happy, hopeful and confident), and functioning well (e.g. having purpose or meaning in life).
In ADAPT Lab, we recently published a review on all the existing studies looking at links between wellbeing and dementia. This review concluded that some aspects of wellbeing (e.g. purpose in life) may be linked with reduced risk of dementia. However, the field is still in its infancy and many important questions on the topic have not been answered.
Aims of the project
The main aim of this project is to test links between wellbeing and dementia-related outcomes. The project will shed light on four important areas:
Why is this research important?
This project will generate new knowledge about associations between wellbeing and dementia and whether intervention for wellbeing can have benefit as a potential dementia prevention activity.
This will have implications for the development of more accurate predictive models for dementia, the identification of people at increased risk of cognitive impairment, and the adaptation of interventions for wellbeing to optimise them as targets for dementia prevention.