A Longitudinal Analysis of the Influence of Race on Cognitive Performance

TitleA Longitudinal Analysis of the Influence of Race on Cognitive Performance
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsCastora-Binkley, M, Peronto, CL, Edwards, JD, Small, BJ
JournalThe Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
KeywordsDemographics, Health Conditions and Status, Methodology

Objectives. Whether there are racial and ethnic disparities in the rate of cognitive decline among older adults is not clear. The purpose of this study was to determine if there are differences in cognitive decline among racial and ethnic older adults.Method. Data were from the Health and Retirement Study, waves 1998 2010. Participants were community dwelling at baseline (n = 9,492), mostly female participants (58.8 ), ranged in age from 65 to 105 years (M = 74.41, SD = 6.97), and had education levels that averaged less than high school (M = 11.7, SD = 3.4). Cognition was examined using a combined score from word recall, Serial 7 s, backward counting, and naming tasks. To determine changes in cognition across 12 years, we utilized mixed effects models.Results. Results indicated that after adjusting for covariates, race or ethnicity was unrelated to changes in cognitive performance, but there were significant differences in baseline cognition and these differences were more pronounced after adjusting for age, gender, education, poverty, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure.Discussion. It is evident that there are significant differences in baseline cognition, although the rate of cognitive decline across 12 years did not vary significantly by race. These findings support previous assertions that the rate of cognitive decline is not associated with race and suggest that it is likely that baseline cognitive performance is a better indicator of performance over time.

Endnote Keywords

Cognitive Decline/Health and Retirement Study/Racial Disparities

Endnote ID


Citation Key8159