A battery of tests for assessing cognitive function in U.S. Chinese older adults-findings from the PINE study

E. Shien Chang, Xinqi Dong

Publication Date: 01/01/2014

Background. Existing methodological challenges in aging research has dampened our assessment of cognitive function among minority older adults. We aim to report the composite scores of five cognitive function tests among U.S. Chinese older adults, and examine the association between cognitive function and key sociodemographic characteristics. Methods. The Population Study of Chinese Elderly in Chicago Study enrolled an epidemiological cohort of 3,159 community-dwelling Chinese older adults. We administered five cognitive function tests, including the Chinese Mini-Mental State Examination, the immediate and delayed recall of the East Boston Memory Test, the Digit Span Backwards assessment, and the Symbol Digit Modalities Test. We used Spearman correlation coefficients to examine the correlation between cognitive function and sociodemographic variables. Linear regression models were used to report the effect of sociodemographic and health variables including age, sex, education on cognitive function. Results. Our multivariate analysis suggested that performance in each domain of cognitive function was inversely associated with age and positively related to education. With respect to sex, after adjusted for age, education and all key variables presented in the model, being male was positively related to global cognitive score and working memory. Being married, having fewer children, having been in the United States for fewer years, having been in the community for fewer years, and better self-reported health were positively correlated with all cognitive function domains. Conclusions. This population-based study of U.S. Chinese older adults is among the first to examine a battery of five cognitive function tests, which in aggregate enables researchers to capture a wide range of cognitive performance.