Family Relationships and Cognitive Function Among Community-Dwelling U.S. Chinese Older Adults

Mengting Li, Man Guo, Meredith Stensland, Xin Qi Dong

Publication Date: 09/09/2021

A broad literature has explored racial disparities in cognitive aging. Research incorporating sociocultural factors would provide a more comprehensive understanding of minority aging. This study aims to investigate the role of family typology in cognition among U.S. Chinese immigrants. Data were derived from the Population Study of Chinese Elderly in Chicago (PINE). Family typology included tight-knit, unobligated ambivalent, commanding conflicted, and detached typologies. Cognition was evaluated by global cognition, episodic memory, working memory, executive function, and mini-mental state examination (MMSE). Linear and quantile regressions were used. Older adults with detached and commanding conflicted typologies reported lower global cognition than those with unobligated ambivalent typology. Detached, commanding conflicted, and tight-knit typologies were associated with poorer performance in episodic memory, working memory and MMSE than unobligated ambivalent typology, respectively. Social service providers could be aware of multifaceted family relationships when developing interventions for cognitive function and understand family typology as a whole.