Sex/gender differences in cognitive trajectories vary as a function of race/ethnicity

Alzheimers Dement. 2019 Dec;15(12):1516-1523. doi: 10.1016/j.jalz.2019.04.006. Epub 2019 Oct 9.


Introduction: The present study sought to determine whether cognitive trajectories differ between men and women across and within racial/ethnic groups.

Methods: Participants were 5258 non-Hispanic White (NHW), Black, and Hispanic men and women in the Washington/Hamilton Heights-Inwood Columbia Aging Project who were administered neuropsychological tests of memory, language, and visuospatial abilities at 18- to 24-month intervals for up to 25 years. Multiple-group latent growth curve modeling examined trajectories across sex/gender by race/ethnicity.

Results: After adjusting for age and education, the largest baseline differences were between NHW men and Hispanic women on visuospatial and language, and between NHW women and Black men on memory. Memory and visuospatial decline was steeper for Black women compared with Hispanic men and NHW women, respectively.

Discussion: 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.

Keywords: Cognitive aging; Cognitive trajectories; Dementia; Racial/ethnic differences; Sex/gender differences.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aging / psychology
  • Black or African American / statistics & numerical data
  • Cognition*
  • Cognitive Aging
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / epidemiology
  • Dementia / epidemiology
  • Ethnicity / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Hispanic or Latino / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Language
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Memory
  • Neuropsychological Tests / statistics & numerical data*
  • New York City / epidemiology
  • Racial Groups
  • Sex Factors
  • White People / statistics & numerical data