Gendered racism and subjective cognitive complaints among older black women: The role of depression and coping

This article was originally published here

Clin Neuropsychol. 2021 May 17:1-24. doi: 10.1080/13854046.2021.1923804. Online ahead of print.


Objective: Psychosocial stress is a risk factor for cognitive impairment and a potential pathway through which disparities in cognitive functioning emerge and disproportionately disadvantage older Black adults. Gendered racism is a psychosocial stressor that has negative implications for Black women’s mental and physical health. This study tested the association between lifetime experiences of gendered racism and subjective cognitive complaints, taking into account the extent to which depressive symptoms and coping styles may explain this association. Method: Data from 75 older Black women (Mage = 62.43, SD = 6.23 years) were collected using an online survey assessing lifetime experiences of gendered racism, depressive symptoms, coping styles (i.e. spirituality, social support, problem-oriented/engagement, and disengagement), and subjective cognitive complaints (i.e. memory, attention, executive functioning, language, and overall cognition). The association between gendered racism and subjective cognitive complaints was examined with simple linear regression. Two mediation models examined depressive symptoms and coping styles as independent mediators of this association. Results: More gendered racism across the lifetime was associated with more subjective cognitive complaints separately through depressive symptoms and disengagement coping, but no other coping styles. Conclusion: Gendered racism is linked to increased subjective cognitive complaints via depressive symptoms and disengagement coping. The study highlights the importance of taking into account lived experiences (gendered racism) that are inextricably linked to social positioning (race and gender) within neuropsychology. Results evidence the negative impact of psychosocial stress, specifically gendered racism, on older Black women’s subjective cognitive functioning, and illuminate avenues for clinical intervention and social justice advocacy.

PMID:33998956 | DOI:10.1080/13854046.2021.1923804