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Keywords:

  • ethnic differences;
  • ethnic gap;
  • dementia;
  • knowledge;
  • beliefs;
  • attitudes

Objective

This study aims to evaluate ethnic group differences in concerns, knowledge, and beliefs about Alzheimer's disease (AD) in three ethnic groups of older adults (White, Latino, and Black).

Methods

The Health and Retirement Study is a US national representative study of older adults over the age of 50 years and their spouse of any age. The study is based on the 2010 wave.

Results

Analysis is based on data from 939 White, 120 Latino, and 171 Black respondents who completed a special module about AD concerns, knowledge, and beliefs. There were significant ethnic differences on 7 of 13 items. However, after the adjustment for education, gender, age, having a family member with AD, depressive symptoms, and medical comorbidity, only four items showed significant ethnic group differences; relative to White respondents, Black respondents were less likely to report that having a parent or a sibling with AD increases the chance of developing AD and that genetics was an important risk for AD. In addition, relative to White respondents, both Black and Latino respondents were more likely to perceive stress as a potential risk for AD. Latino respondents were less likely to perceive mental activity as a protective factor.

Conclusions

The study found limited ethnic group differences, with most items showing a similar pattern across groups. Nevertheless, the nature of the ethnic group differences found might be associated with a differential pattern of health service use. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.