Life Course Pathways to Racial Disparities in Cognitive Impairment among Older Americans.

TitleLife Course Pathways to Racial Disparities in Cognitive Impairment among Older Americans.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsZhang, Z, Hayward, MD, Yu, Y-L
JournalJournal of health and social behavior
Volume57
Issue2
Pagination184-199
Date Published2016 Jun
ISSN Number2150-6000
KeywordsChildhood adversity, Cognitive Ability, Racial/ethnic differences, Socioeconomic factors
Abstract

Blacks are especially hard hit by cognitive impairment at older ages compared to whites. Here, we take advantage of the Health and Retirement Study (1998-2010) to assess how this racial divide in cognitive impairment is associated with the racial stratification of life course exposures and resources over a 12-year period among 8,946 non-Hispanic whites and blacks ages 65 and older in 1998. We find that blacks suffer from a higher risk of moderate/severe cognitive impairment at baseline and during the follow-up. Blacks are also more likely to report childhood adversity and to have grown up in the segregated South, and these early-life adversities put blacks at a significantly higher risk of cognitive impairment. Adulthood socioeconomic status is strongly associated with the risk of cognitive impairment, net of childhood conditions. However, racial disparities in cognitive impairment, though substantially reduced, are not eliminated when controlling for these life course factors.

URLhttp://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27247126
DOI10.1177/0022146516645925
Alternate JournalJ Health Soc Behav
Citation Key8495
PubMed ID27247126
PubMed Central IDPMC4933020
Grant ListR03 AG041327 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States
R24 HD042849 / HD / NICHD NIH HHS / United States