The lack of disease-modifying pharmacological agents for dementia highlights the critical importance of prevention, but known modifiable factors (e.g., education, physical health and health behaviors, depression, and social isolation) do not fully represent potential intervention targets. Positive psychosocial factors predict cognitive aging outcomes above and beyond known risk factors and may also correspond to upstream determinants that open up new avenues for prevention and intervention, as well as for reducing racial/ethnic inequalities in dementia. In this brief report, I summarize contemporary evidence for three positive psychosocial factors that appear to be particularly relevant to cognitive aging: perceived control, religious involvement, and social relations.
Targeted review and synthesis of published studies.
Each of the multidimensional constructs appears to contain “active ingredients” that could help to optimize cognitive aging through disparate mechanisms. Although historically marginalized racial/ethnic groups face disproportionate barriers to accessing certain psychosocial protective factors (e.g., perceived control), these same groups also exhibit naturally occurring sources of psychosocial resilience (e.g., religious involvement) that allow them to achieve better late-life cognitive health than would be otherwise expected. With regard to social relations, converging evidence from disparate studies shows that fostering late-life friendships in particular may have high potential for building cognitive reserve and promoting healthy cognitive aging.
Positive psychosocial factors represent culturally relevant resources that, through careful research, could ultimately be harnessed to promote better cognitive aging for a growing and increasingly diverse population of older adults.

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