Exploring Disparities in the Cognitive Functioning of Older Americans Using Growth Curve Selection Modeling: Do Health Behaviors Play a Role?

Nicholas J. Bishop, Arizona State University

Both health behaviors and socioeconomic position (SEP) have been linked to variation in cognitive decline of aging individuals, yet few studies have examined the impact of health behaviors on cognitive decline while controlling for a diverse set of indicators capturing SEP across the lifecourse. Latent growth curve selection modeling was used to examine socioeconomic variation in the relationship between cognitive performance and health behaviors in a nationally representative sample of elderly Americans over a ten year period (AHEAD 1998 - 2008). Select health behaviors were predictive of initial word recall scores for both men and women yet change in word recall over time was not influenced by health behaviors. Various measures of SES were related to both initial word recall and change in word recall over time, but the impact of health behaviors on word recall did not vary among socioeconomic subgroups.

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Presented in Session 187: Hispanic and Black Health and Mortality