Soap operas and talk shows on television are associated with poorer cognition in older women

Joshua Fogel, Michelle C. Carlson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Background: No information exists regarding whether a favorite television category choice affects attention, memory, or cognition among older women. Methods: Cross-sectional data from a population-based community sample of 289 older cognitively and physically intact women who were surveyed about television use. The cognitive battery included measures of psychomotor speed, executive attention, immediate and delayed verbal memory, and global cognition. Results: Talk shows (P < 0.05) or soap operas (P < 0.05) as a favorite television category were consistently associated with poorer scores on all cognitive outcomes in both unadjusted and adjusted analyses. Clinically significant cognitive impairment across domains were associated with watching talk shows (OR = 7.3; 95% CI = 1.9, 28.4) and soap operas (OR = 13.5; 95% CI = 3.7, 49.5). Conclusions: Clinical interviews can incorporate questions about television viewing habits. Endorsements of talk shows or soap operas as frequent and favored television programming may identify those at risk for cognitive impairment and targets for further cognitive screening.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)226-233
Number of pages8
JournalSouthern medical journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Aging
  • Attention
  • Cognition
  • Leisure activities
  • Television

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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