Trajectories of cognitive function in late life in the United States: demographic and socioeconomic predictors.

TitleTrajectories of cognitive function in late life in the United States: demographic and socioeconomic predictors.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsKarlamangla, AS, Miller-Martinez, D, Aneshensel, CS, Seeman, T, Wight, RG, Chodosh, J
JournalAmerican Journal of Epidemiology
ISSN Number1476-6256
Call Numbernewpubs20090908_Karlamangla.pdf
KeywordsAfrican Americans, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Aging, Cognition, Confidence Intervals, Education, European Continental Ancestry Group, Female, Geriatric Assessment, Hispanic Americans, Humans, Income, Male, Marital Status, Mexican Americans, Poverty, Sampling Studies, Socioeconomic factors, Surveys and Questionnaires, United States

This study used mixed-effects modeling of data from a national sample of 6,476 US adults born before 1924, who were tested 5 times between 1993 and 2002 on word recall, serial 7's, and other mental status items to determine demographic and socioeconomic predictors of trajectories of cognitive function in older Americans. Mean decline with aging in total cognition score (range, 0-35; standard deviation, 6.00) was 4.1 (0.68 standard deviations) per decade (95% confidence interval: 3.8, 4.4) and in recall score (range, 0-20; standard deviation, 3.84) was 2.3 (0.60 standard deviations) per decade (95% confidence interval: 2.1, 2.5). Older cohorts (compared with younger cohorts), women (compared with men), widows/widowers, and those never married (both compared with married individuals) declined faster, and non-Hispanic blacks (compared with non-Hispanic whites) and those in the bottom income quintile (compared with the top quintile) declined slower. Race and income differences in rates of decline were not sufficient to offset larger differences in baseline cognition scores. Educational level was not associated with rate of decline in cognition scores. The authors concluded that ethnic and socioeconomic disparities in cognitive function in older Americans arise primarily from differences in peak cognitive performance achieved earlier in the life course and less from declines in later life.

Endnote Keywords

Cognition/health outcomes/Socioeconomic Factors

Endnote ID


Citation Key7347
PubMed ID19605514
PubMed Central IDPMC2727175
Grant ListR01 AG022537 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States