Acculturation, Reading Level, and Neuropsychological Test Performance Among African American Elders

Manly, Jennifer J; Byrd, Desiree A; Touradji, Pegah; Stern, Yaakov

The independent effects of cultural and educational experience on neuropsychological test performance were examined among 503 nondemented African Americans ages 65 and older. Measures of cultural experience (acculturation) and quality of education (reading level) were administered. Reading level was the most influential predictor of cognitive test performance, even afler accounting for age, sex, years of education, and acculturation level. Age had small but significant unique ejfects on most measures, especially word list learning. Years of education had independent effects on measures of verbal abstraction, fluency, and figure matching. More acculturated African Americans obtained higher scores on most measures; however, after accounting for age, years of education, sex, and reading level, the effect of acculturation was diminished. The results suggest that quality of education and cultural experience influence how older African Americans approach neuropsychological tasks; therefore, adjustment for these variables may improve specificity of neuropsychological measures.



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February 11, 2022