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The relation of lifetime cognitive activity and lifetime access to resources to late-life cognitive function in older African Americans.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, IL 60612, USA.


Research in older Caucasians has demonstrated that cognitive activity is related to cognitive function in late adulthood. Knowledge of this association is limited in older minority populations. We examined the relation of cognitive activity and access to cognitive resources, with cognitive function in a group of 108 older African Americans. We constructed two scales to measure the frequency of cognitive activity and the presence of resources that promote cognitive activity during early and late life. Both measures had high internal consistency and the cognitive activity scale had adequate temporal stability over a 4-week interval. In analyses that controlled for age and education, more frequent lifetime cognitive activity was related to current cognitive function, but lifetime cognitive resources only approached significance. The results suggest that both measures are psychometrically sound in a minority population and that lifetime cognitive activity may contribute to current cognitive function in African Americans.

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