Social Resource Factors that Influence Cognitive Functioning of Aging Black Adults

TitleSocial Resource Factors that Influence Cognitive Functioning of Aging Black Adults
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsSwett, L
AdvisorShields, JJ
Number of Pages185
Date Published2015
UniversityThe Catholic University of America
CityWashington, DC
Thesis TypePh.D.
Accession Number1705880418
KeywordsDemographics, Event History/Life Cycle, Gerontology, Health Conditions and Status, Healthcare, Methodology, Other, Women and Minorities

Social workers have found that aging adults are often challenged by reduced cognitive functioning, which impacts their health and mental health. Recent advances in knowledge indicate that social resources such as quality of emotional support and social integration can slow cognitive decline. Aging Black persons are twice more likely to have cognitive impairment than aging White persons. However, the majority of studies investigating associations or predictors of cognitive health are comprised of primarily White samples, and little is known regarding the effect of social resource factors on cognition in aging Black adults. Data for the study came from the 2010 wave of the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), an ongoing, longitudinal, population-based cohort study of adults ages 50 to 98. The analyzed sample was comprised of 338 men and 699 women who self-identified as African American/Black. Controlling for factors known to influence cognitive functioning, a multiple regression analysis of four categories of social resources was conducted, by gender, to determine their effect on global cognitive functioning: quality of social supports, social networks, social integration, and social influence. For Black men, emotional support from family and frequency of contact with their children were predictive of global cognition. For Black women, emotional support from friends was positively predictive of global cognition. Further, locus of control perceived constraints was inversely related with global cognition in men, while education was positively predictive of global cognition across gender. The findings demonstrate that the evaluative aspects of social relationships (perceptions of support) are important in predicting cognitive functioning for both genders, and the structural components (types of relationships or frequency of contacts) are important in predicting cognitive functioning for men. Additionally, this study validated the role of gender as a moderator between quality of social supports and global cognition, and as a moderator between social networks and global cognition in aging Black persons. Research grounded in intersectionality theory yielded unique information for Black men and women that is applicable for evidence-based practice interventions. Practices targeting the reduction of constraints and strengthening family, friend, and children networks in men, and practices assisting women in strengthening their friendship networks, may mitigate their cognitive decline and increase their global cognition as they age.


Copyright - Copyright ProQuest Dissertations Publishing 2015 Last updated - 2015-08-28 First page - n/a

Endnote Keywords

0296:African American Studies

Short TitleSocial Resource Factors that Influence Cognitive Functioning of Aging Black Adults
Citation Key6121