Objectives: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the hypothesis that chronic and acculturative stress would be negatively associated with neurocognitive function among middle aged to older Hispanics/Latinos.
Method: Our analytic sample consisted of 3,265 participants (mean age = 56.7 (±0.24)) from the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos who participated in its Sociocultural Ancillary Study. During the baseline phase of this project, participants were assessed on multiple domains of neurocognitive function, and completed self-report measures of chronic and acculturative stress.
Results: Each standard deviation increase in chronic stress was associated with lower performance in a verbal learning task (B = -.17, 95% CI [-.32, -.01]); this association was no longer significant after adjusting for mental and physical health symptoms, including depression and anxiety symptoms, and cardiovascular health. A standard deviation increase in acculturative stress was associated with poorer performance in all cognitive measures (Bs range = -.13 to -1.03). Associations of acculturation stress with psychomotor speed, verbal learning, and word fluency remained significant after adjusting for mental and physical health symptoms.
Discussion: Our results suggest that mental and physical health may help explain some cross-sectional associations between stress and cognition and highlight the need to examine culture-specific psychosocial stressors to better understand the context of psychosocial risk factors for neurocognitive performance.
Keywords: Acculturative stress; Cognition; Hispanic; Latino; Stress.
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