Experiences of racism and subjective cognitive function in African American women

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Alzheimers Dement (Amst). 2020 Jul 21;12(1):e12067. doi: 10.1002/dad2.12067. eCollection 2020.


INTRODUCTION: We hypothesized that frequent experiences of racism among African American women would adversely affect subjective cognitive function (SCF), based on the established association of psychological stress with memory decline.

METHODS: We used multinomial logistic regression to quantify the association between experiences of racism and SCF, based on six questions, among 17,320 participants in the prospective Black Women’s Health Study.

RESULTS: The multivariable odds ratio (OR, 95% confidence interval [CI]) for poor compared to good SCF among women at the highest versus the lowest level of daily racism (eg, poorer service in stores) was 2.75 (2.34 to 3.23); for the same comparison among women at the highest level of institutional racism (eg, discriminated against in housing) relative to the lowest, the OR was 2.66 (2.24 to 3.15). The associations were mediated, in part, by depression and insomnia.

DISCUSSION: Experiences of racism, a highly prevalent psychosocial stressor among African Americans, were associated with lower SCF.

PMID:32782921 | PMC:PMC7409101 | DOI:10.1002/dad2.12067