Perceptions of Risk Factors for Alzheimer Disease Among Community-Dwelling, Nondemented Older African Americans

Alzheimer Dis Assoc Disord. 2019 Jul-Sep;33(3):254-259. doi: 10.1097/WAD.0000000000000314.


Purpose: Heightened Alzheimer disease (AD) risk among African Americans represents a racial disparity in aging. This study examines perceptions of AD risk factors among nondemented older African Americans.

Methods: Participants indicated how important nine factors were in increasing one's AD risk using a Likert-type scale with endpoints 1=not at all important to 4=extremely important. We examined perceptions of AD risk factors as a function of age, education, gender, and global cognition using separate logistic regression models.

Patients: Participants were from The Minority Aging Research Study (N=610) with a mean age of 74.5 years, a mean education of 14.9 years, and 24% were men.

Results: Of the AD risk factors, predictors were significantly related to genetics and God's Will. Younger participants (est.=-0.06, P=0.02) and those with more education (est.=0.14, P=0.02) were more likely to report genetics as extremely important. Participants with more education were less likely to indicate God's Will as extremely important (est.=-0.14, P<0.0005).

Conclusions: Among older African Americans, age and education were important characteristics for the perception of AD risk factors. Findings can facilitate designing effective, culturally competent educational tools for meaningful engagement with older African Americans about AD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aging*
  • Alzheimer Disease / diagnosis*
  • Alzheimer Disease / genetics
  • Black or African American / psychology*
  • Cognition*
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Independent Living*
  • Male
  • Neuropsychological Tests / statistics & numerical data
  • Religion
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors