J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci. 2020 Sep 12:gbaa156. doi: 10.1093/geronb/gbaa156. Online ahead of print.
OBJECTIVES: Latinos are 1.5 times as likely to develop Alzheimer’s dementia as non-Latino Whites. This health disparity may arise from multiple influences with culturally-relevant factors receiving increasing attention. Models of acculturation stress the importance of considering acculturation-related factors within the context of socioenvironmental factors to better capture the Latino experience in the US.
METHODS: We measured 10 acculturation and contextually-related variables in 199 Latinos (age~69.7yrs) without dementia participating in Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center studies. We tested the relationship between these variables via Principal Component Analysis (PCA); then investigated how resulting components associated with level of and longitudinal change in global and domain-specific cognition using separate linear mixed effects models adjusted for relevant confounders and their interactions with time.
RESULTS: The PCA revealed a three factor unrotated solution (variance explained ~70%). Factor 1, representing acculturation-related aspects of nativity, language- and social-based acculturation, was positively associated with level, but not change, in global cognition, semantic memory, and perceptual speed. Factor 2, representing contextually-related socioenvironmental experiences of discrimination, social isolation, and social networks, was negatively associated with level of global cognition, episodic and working memory and faster longitudinal decline in visuospatial ability. Factor 3 (familism only) did not associate with level or change in any cognitive outcome.
DISCUSSION: Acculturation- and contextually-related factors differentiated from each other and differentially contributed to cognition and cognitive decline in older Latinos. Providers should query acculturation and lived experiences when evaluating cognition in older Latinos.