Changes in the prevalence of cognitive impairment among older Americans, 1993-2004: Overall trends and differences by race/ethnicity

Kristin M. Sheffield, M. Kristen Peek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations

Abstract

The authors used data from 6 waves of the Health and Retirement Study to evaluate changes in the prevalence of cognitive impairment among adults 70 years of age or older from 1993 to 2004. Having sampling weights for each wave enabled the authors to create merged waves that represented cross-sections of the community-dwelling older population for that year. Logistic regression analyses with year as the predictor were used to estimate trends and determine the contribution of sociodemographic and health status variables to decreasing trends in the prevalence of cognitive impairment over time (score ≤8 on a modified Telephone Interview Cognitive Screen). Results showed an annual decline in the prevalence of cognitive impairment of 3.4% after adjustment for age, gender, and prior test exposure (odds ratio (OR) = 0.966, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.941, 0.992). The addition of socioeconomic variables to the model attenuated the trend by 72.1%. The annual percentage of decline in impairment was larger for blacks (OR = 0.943, 95% CI: 0.914, 0.973) and Hispanics (OR = 0.954, 95% CI: 0.912, 0.997) than for whites (OR = 0.971, 95% CI: 0.936, 1.006), although the differences were not statistically significant. Linear probability models used in secondary analyses showed larger percentage-point declines for blacks and Hispanics. Improvements in educational level contributed to declines in cognitive impairment among older adults - particularly blacks and Hispanics - in the United States.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)274-283
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican journal of epidemiology
Volume174
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2011

Keywords

  • African Americans
  • Hispanic Americans
  • aged
  • aged, 80 and over
  • cognition disorders
  • health status disparities
  • prevalence
  • socioeconomic factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology

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