2024
Langue
Anglais

Child support grant expansion and cognitive function among women in rural South Africa

Cash transfers are a promising but understudied intervention that may protect cognitive function in adults. Although South Africa has a rapidly ageing population, little is known about the nature of association between cash transfers and cognitive function in this setting. We leveraged age-eligibility expansions to South Africa's Child Support Grant (CSG) to investigate the association between duration of CSG eligibility and cognitive function of biological mothers of child beneficiaries in South Africa. High vs. low duration of CSG eligibility, was associated with higher cognitive function z-scores in the full sample [β: 0.15 SD units; 95% CI: 0.04, 0.26; p-value = 0.01]. In mothers with one to four lifetime children, but not five or more, high vs. low duration of CSG eligibility, was associated with higher cognitive function z-scores [β: 0.19 SD units; 95% CI: 0.05, 0.34, p-value = 0.02]. Government cash transfers given to support raising children may confer substantial protective effects on the subsequent cognitive function of mothers. Further studies are needed to understand how parity may influence this relationship. Our findings bring evidence to policymakers for designing income supplementation programmes to promote healthy cognitive ageing in low-income settings.