You say tomato, I say radish: can brief cognitive assessments in the US Health Retirement Study be harmonized with its International Partner Studies?

TitleYou say tomato, I say radish: can brief cognitive assessments in the US Health Retirement Study be harmonized with its International Partner Studies?
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of PublicationForthcoming
AuthorsKobayashi, LC, Gross, AL, Gibbons, LE, Tommet, D, R Sanders, E, Choi, S-E, Mukherjee, S, M. Glymour, M, Manly, JJ, Berkman, LF, Crane, PK, Mungas, DM, Jones, RN
JournalThe Journals of Gerontology, Series B
ISSN Number1758-5368
Keywordscognitive function, health survey, international comparison, item response theory, statistical harmonization
Abstract

OBJECTIVES: To characterize the extent to which brief cognitive assessments administered in the population-representative US Health and Retirement Study (HRS) and its International Partner Studies can be considered to be measuring a single, unidimensional latent cognitive function construct.

METHOD: Cognitive function assessments were administered in face-to-face interviews in 12 studies in 26 countries (N=155,690), including the US HRS and selected International Partner Studies. We used the time point of first cognitive assessment for each study to minimize differential practice effects across studies, and documented cognitive test item coverage across studies. Using confirmatory factor analysis models, we estimated single factor general cognitive function models, and bifactor models representing memory-specific and non-memory-specific cognitive domains for each study. We evaluated model fits and factor loadings across studies.

RESULTS: Despite relatively sparse and inconsistent cognitive item coverage across studies, all studies had some cognitive test items in common with other studies. In all studies, the bifactor models with a memory-specific domain fit better than single factor general cognitive function models. The data fit the models at reasonable thresholds for single factor models in six of the 12 studies, and for the bifactor models in all 12 of the 12 studies.

DISCUSSION: The cognitive assessments in the US HRS and its International Partner Studies reflect comparable underlying cognitive constructs. We discuss the assumptions underlying our methods, present alternatives, and future directions for cross-national harmonization of cognitive aging data.

DOI10.1093/geronb/gbaa205
Citation Key11244
PubMed ID33249448