Racial/Ethnic Differences in Trajectories of Cognitive Function in Older Adults.

TitleRacial/Ethnic Differences in Trajectories of Cognitive Function in Older Adults.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsVasquez, E, Botoseneanu, A, Bennett, JM, Shaw, BA
JournalJ Aging Health
Date Published2016 Dec
ISSN Number1552-6887
KeywordsAged, Aged, 80 and over, Black People, Cognition, Cognition Disorders, Female, Health Behavior, Hispanic or Latino, Humans, Male, White People

OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study is to (a) examine racial/ethnic differences in trajectories of cognitive function and (b) evaluate the role of education and health behaviors (physical activity [PA] and smoking) as mediators of racial/ethnic differences in the rate of decline in cognitive function in older adults.

METHOD: Data for this study came from the Health and Retirement Study ( n = 3,424). Hierarchical linear models were used to define the trajectory of cognitive function between 2002 and 2008. Participants were classified based on PA as non-vigorously active, intermittent vigorously active, and consistently vigorously active.

RESULTS: After adding education, the Hispanic's and Black's disparities in cognitive performance were slightly attenuated (Hispanics, β = -1.049, p < .001; Blacks, β = -3.397, p < .001) but were still different from Whites. Smoking was not associated with the cognition intercept or rate of decline.

DISCUSSION: We found education had a partial mediating effect on racial differences in levels of cognition but not on the rate of change over time.

User Guide Notes


Endnote Keywords

cognition/education/ethnicity/physical activity/smoking

Endnote ID


Alternate JournalJ Aging Health
Citation Key6460
PubMed ID26719488
Grant ListR01 AG031109 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States