Children of older mothers test better in cognitive ability

by Editorial Staff - 2017.02.14

In contrast to 40 years ago, children born to older mothers today are more likely to perform better in cognitive ability tests than those born to younger mothers, according to a paper published in the International Journal of Epidemiology. This shift is due to the changing characteristics of women who have children at an older age. Older mothers today tend to be more advantaged than younger mothers – for example, they are well educated, are less likely to smoke during pregnancy and are established in professional occupations. This was not necessarily true in the past. Researchers analysed data from three UK longitudinal studies. Cognitive ability is important in and of itself but also because it is a strong predictor of how children fare in later life – in terms of their educational attainment, their occupation and their health.