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Keywords:

  • aging;
  • cognition;
  • successful aging;
  • assessment

Abstract

Background

Cognitive functioning is a central component of successful aging. Yet, there are few published instruments for brief and reliable self-administered cognitive assessment that could be used in large population-based studies of community-dwelling elderly people.

Objective

We examined the utility of a self-administered cognitive screening instrument in a group of community-dwelling older adults, and we evaluated correlations of the performance on this measure with demographic variables and specific indicators of self-rated successful aging.

Method

We assessed 182 well-educated adults ages 58 to 99 with a modified version of a previously published cognitive screening instrument (Cognitive Assessment Screening Test—Revised; CAST-R), a measure of cognitive complaints (Cognitive Failures Questionnaire; CFQ), and a self-rating of successful aging. We used the SF-36 Physical and Mental Composite Scores as measures of physical and mental health-related functioning.

Results

As expected, most individuals performed well on the CAST-R; only 7% of participants fell below a previously established cut score for cognitive impairment. CAST–R scores were positively correlated with level of education, income, SF-36 Mental Composite Scores, and a self-rating of successful aging, and negatively correlated with chronological age. Scores on the CAST-R were not correlated with cognitive complaints (CFQ total score) or SF-36 Physical Composite Scores.

Conclusions

A self-administered cognitive screening tool may be a useful, albeit limited, way of screening for cognitive disabilities among well-educated, community-dwelling older adults. Although preliminary, significant associations with several successful aging-related variables in expected directions represent the first step in establishing the validity of the CAST-R. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.