Psychology ETDs

Publication Date

Summer 7-1-2020


The current study examined the interactive effects of race/ethnicity and sex/gender on cognitive trajectories of older adults. Participants were a total of 5258 non-Hispanic White (NHW), Black, and Hispanic men and women in the Washington/Hamilton Heights/Inwood Columbia Aging Project. Multiple-group latent growth curve modeling was used to examine trajectories across sex/gender by racial/ethnic groups and to determine the relationship between specific socio-cultural/health indicators and cognitive decline, including childhood socioeconomic position, years of education, adult income and occupation, cardiovascular risk factors, and marital status. Sex/gender differences in baseline cognitive test performance varied as a function of race/ethnicity and racial/ethnic differences in rate of cognitive decline varied as a function of sex/gender. Although differences in socio-cultural/health indicators explained a substantial proportion of the racial/ethnic differences in cognitive trajectories, the extent to which each socio-cultural/health indicator accounted for racial/ethnic differences varied across men and women. This study takes an important first step in understanding interactions between race/ethnicity and sex/gender on cognitive trajectories by demonstrating variability in sex/gender differences across race/ethnicity. Examining interactions between sex/gender and race/ethnicity provides a more nuanced understanding of mechanisms of AD disparities and may lead to the development of new strategies to prevent or slow AD-related cognitive decline.

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First Committee Member (Chair)

Steven P. Verney

Second Committee Member

Jennifer Manly

Third Committee Member

Katie Witkiewitz

Fourth Committee Member

Jennifer Monzones




Sex/gender differences, racial/ethnic disparities, cognitive aging, cognitive trajectories, dementia

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