Structural Equation Models of Relationships Between Exercise and Cognitive Abilities

Document Type



Psychology (Scripps)

Publication Date



Cognitive Psychology | Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Data were obtained from 300 men and women aged 55 to 91. Separate structural equation models of relationships between physical exercise and 3 cognitive performance variables—reaction time (RT), working memory, and reasoning—fit the data well. Other variables in the models were age, health, education, and morale. Age and exercise affected each performance variable directly; education had a direct effect on reasoning only. There were also indirect effects of age and health on performance variables, mediated through exercise. The main hypothesis of the study, that exercise contributes to performance, was supported. A large decrease in model fit resulted when the path from exercise to each variable was deleted. Hypotheses that age-related deficits are primarily accounted for by lack of exercise or by poor health were not supported

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© 1990 American Psychological Association

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