"Our study provides strong evidence that perceived stress increases the likelihood that an older person will develop aMCI," said senior study author Richard Lipton from Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York.
"Fortunately, perceived stress is a modifiable risk factor for cognitive impairment, making it a potential target for treatment," Lipton said.
"Perceived stress reflects the daily hassles we all experience, as well as the way we appraise and cope with these events," said study first author, Mindy Katz.
"Perceived stress can be altered by mindfulness-based stress reduction, cognitive-behavioural therapies and stress-reducing drugs. These interventions may postpone or even prevent an individual's cognitive decline," Katz added.
The researchers studied data collected from 507 people enrolled in the Einstein Ageing Study (EAS), a community-based cohort of older adults.
The findings were published online in Alzheimer Disease & Associated Disorders.