Everyday discrimination and subsequent cognitive abilities across five domains.

TitleEveryday discrimination and subsequent cognitive abilities across five domains.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsZahodne, LB, Morris, EP, Sharifian, N, Zaheed, AB, A Kraal, Z, Sol, K
ISSN Number1931-1559
KeywordsDepressive symptoms, Discrimination, HCAP, vascular diseases

OBJECTIVE: Previous research suggests that everyday discrimination is associated with worse concomitant performance in several cognitive domains, as well as faster subsequent declines in episodic memory. This study aimed to extend knowledge on the specificity, durability, and mechanisms of associations between everyday discrimination and cognition by using a comprehensive neuropsychological battery and a longitudinal mediation design.

METHOD: Participants included 3,304 older adults in the Health and Retirement Study Harmonized Cognitive Assessment Protocol. Discrimination was assessed using the Everyday Discrimination Scale. Depressive symptoms were assessed with the 8-item Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale. Vascular diseases were quantified as the self-reported presence of hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease. Confirmatory factor analysis was used to estimate episodic memory, executive functioning, processing speed, language, and visuoconstruction across a battery of 13 neuropsychological tests. Structural equation models controlled for sociodemographics and baseline cognition ascertained 2 to 4 years prior.

RESULTS: Discrimination was associated with more depressive symptoms and vascular diseases. Depressive symptoms mediated negative effects of discrimination on subsequent functioning across all 5 cognitive domains. Vascular diseases additionally mediated negative effects of discrimination on processing speed. After accounting for mediators, direct negative effects of discrimination remained for executive functioning and visuoconstruction.

CONCLUSIONS: This national longitudinal study in the United States provides evidence for broad and enduring effects of everyday discrimination on cognitive aging, which appear to be partially mediated by mental and physical health. Future research should examine additional mechanisms as well as moderators of these associations to better understand points of intervention. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved).

Citation Key10970
PubMed ID32744838
Grant List / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States