Black and White Differences in Cognitive Function Test Scores: What Explains the Difference?

Authors

  • Kala M. Mehta DSc,

    1. From the *Division of Geriatrics, Prevention Sciences Group, and Departments of Psychiatry, Neurology and Epidemiology, University of California at San Francisco, San Francisco, California§Intramural Research Program, National Institute on Aging, Baltimore, MarylandDepartment of Sociology, Kent State University, Kent, OhioDivision of Geriatric Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PennsylvaniaDepartment of Geriatrics, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, Arkansas.
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  • Eleanor M. Simonsick PhD,

    1. From the *Division of Geriatrics, Prevention Sciences Group, and Departments of Psychiatry, Neurology and Epidemiology, University of California at San Francisco, San Francisco, California§Intramural Research Program, National Institute on Aging, Baltimore, MarylandDepartment of Sociology, Kent State University, Kent, OhioDivision of Geriatric Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PennsylvaniaDepartment of Geriatrics, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, Arkansas.
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  • Ronica Rooks PhD,

    1. From the *Division of Geriatrics, Prevention Sciences Group, and Departments of Psychiatry, Neurology and Epidemiology, University of California at San Francisco, San Francisco, California§Intramural Research Program, National Institute on Aging, Baltimore, MarylandDepartment of Sociology, Kent State University, Kent, OhioDivision of Geriatric Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PennsylvaniaDepartment of Geriatrics, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, Arkansas.
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  • Anne B. Newman MD, MPH,

    1. From the *Division of Geriatrics, Prevention Sciences Group, and Departments of Psychiatry, Neurology and Epidemiology, University of California at San Francisco, San Francisco, California§Intramural Research Program, National Institute on Aging, Baltimore, MarylandDepartment of Sociology, Kent State University, Kent, OhioDivision of Geriatric Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PennsylvaniaDepartment of Geriatrics, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, Arkansas.
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  • Sandra K. Pope PhD,

    1. From the *Division of Geriatrics, Prevention Sciences Group, and Departments of Psychiatry, Neurology and Epidemiology, University of California at San Francisco, San Francisco, California§Intramural Research Program, National Institute on Aging, Baltimore, MarylandDepartment of Sociology, Kent State University, Kent, OhioDivision of Geriatric Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PennsylvaniaDepartment of Geriatrics, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, Arkansas.
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  • Susan M. Rubin MPH,

    1. From the *Division of Geriatrics, Prevention Sciences Group, and Departments of Psychiatry, Neurology and Epidemiology, University of California at San Francisco, San Francisco, California§Intramural Research Program, National Institute on Aging, Baltimore, MarylandDepartment of Sociology, Kent State University, Kent, OhioDivision of Geriatric Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PennsylvaniaDepartment of Geriatrics, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, Arkansas.
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  • Kristine Yaffe MD,

    1. From the *Division of Geriatrics, Prevention Sciences Group, and Departments of Psychiatry, Neurology and Epidemiology, University of California at San Francisco, San Francisco, California§Intramural Research Program, National Institute on Aging, Baltimore, MarylandDepartment of Sociology, Kent State University, Kent, OhioDivision of Geriatric Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PennsylvaniaDepartment of Geriatrics, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, Arkansas.
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  • for the Health, Aging and Body Composition Study

    1. From the *Division of Geriatrics, Prevention Sciences Group, and Departments of Psychiatry, Neurology and Epidemiology, University of California at San Francisco, San Francisco, California§Intramural Research Program, National Institute on Aging, Baltimore, MarylandDepartment of Sociology, Kent State University, Kent, OhioDivision of Geriatric Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PennsylvaniaDepartment of Geriatrics, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, Arkansas.
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  • *Dr. Mehta was supported by a research supplement to the Center for Aging in Diverse Communities, Resource Center for Minority Aging Research (P30AG15272), funded by the National Institute on Aging, National Institute of Nursing Research, and the Center for Research on Minority Health and Health Disparities. Dr. Yaffe was supported by NIA-R01 AG021918 and is a Paul Beeson Faculty Scholar in Aging Research. The Health, Aging and Body Composition Study was funded by NIA Contracts N01-AG62101, N01-AG62103, and N01-AG62106.

Dr. Kala M. Mehta, Division of Geriatrics, University of California, San Francisco, 4150 Clement Street, Box 181G, San Francisco, CA 94121. E-mail: kala@itsa.ucsf.edu

Abstract

Several studies have reported that older black and Latino adults have lower cognitive function test scores than older white adults, but few have comprehensively examined reasons for score differences. This study evaluates whether differences in health and socioeconomic indicators, including literacy level, can explain differences in cognitive function test scores between older black and white adults.

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