Racial and ethnic differences in cognitive function among older adults in the USA.

TitleRacial and ethnic differences in cognitive function among older adults in the USA.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsDíaz-Venegas, C, Downer, B, Langa, KM, Wong, R
JournalInt J Geriatr Psychiatry
Date Published2016 09
ISSN Number1099-1166
KeywordsAfrican Americans, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Cognition, Ethnic Groups, European Continental Ancestry Group, Female, Hispanic Americans, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, United States

OBJECTIVE: Examine differences in cognition between Hispanic, non-Hispanic black (NHB), and non-Hispanic white (NHW) older adults in the United States.

DATA/METHODS: The final sample includes 18 982 participants aged 51 or older who received a modified version of the Telephone Interview for Cognitive Status during the 2010 Health and Retirement Study follow-up. Ordinary least squares will be used to examine differences in overall cognition according to race/ethnicity.

RESULTS: Hispanics and NHB had lower cognition than NHW for all age groups (51-59, 60-69, 70-79, 80+). Hispanics had higher cognition than NHB for all age groups but these differences were all within one point. The lower cognition among NHB compared to NHW remained significant after controlling for age, gender, and education, whereas the differences in cognition between Hispanics and NHW were no longer significant after controlling for these covariates. Cognitive scores increased with greater educational attainment for all race/ethnic groups, but Hispanics exhibited the least benefit.

DISCUSSION: Our results highlight the role of education in race/ethnic differences in cognitive function during old age. Education seems beneficial for cognition in old age for all race/ethnic groups, but Hispanics appear to receive a lower benefit compared to other race/ethnic groups. Further research is needed on the racial and ethnic differences in the pathways of the benefits of educational attainment for late-life cognitive function. Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

User Guide Notes


Endnote Keywords

Racial differences
Non-Hispanic Whites
Non-Hispanic Blacks
Older Adults
Cognitive function

Alternate JournalInt J Geriatr Psychiatry
Citation Key8481
PubMed ID26766788
PubMed Central IDPMC4945484
Grant ListP30 AG053760 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States
R01 AG018016 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States
U01 AG009740 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States
T32 AG000270 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States
P30 AG024832 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States