Dec 10, 2019

Stressful Life Events and Racial Disparities in Cognition Among Middle-Aged and Older Adults

Journal of Alzheimer's Disease : JAD
Megan ZuelsdorffCarey E Gleason

Abstract

It is well-documented that African Americans have elevated risk for cognitive impairment and dementia in late life, but reasons for the racial disparities remain unknown. Stress processes have been linked to premature age-related morbidity, including Alzheimer's and related dementias (ADRD), and plausibly contribute to social disparities in cognitive aging. We examined the relationship between stressful life events and cognitive decline among African American and White participants enrolled in the Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer's Prevention (WRAP). Linear mixed models including demographic, literacy, and health-related covariates were used to estimate (1) relationships between a life event index score and decline in cognitive test performance in two domains of executive function (Speed & Flexibility, Working Memory) and one domain of episodic memory (Verbal Learning & Memory) among 1,241 WRAP enrollees, stratified by race, and (2) contributions of stressful life events to racial differences in cognition within the full sample. African Americans (N = 50) reported more stressful life events than Whites (N = 1,191). Higher stress scores associated with poorer Speed & Flexibility performance in both groups, though not with declin...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

Memory, Short-Term
Middle Region of Body
Memory, Episodic
Executive Function
Alzheimer's Disease
Participant
Adverse Event
African American
Racial Group
Aging

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