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J Am Geriatr Soc. 2013 Dec;61(12):2174-80.

Racial and sex differences in associations between activities of daily living and cognition in community-dwelling older adults.



To examine the association between function measured according to activities of daily living (ADLs), instrumental activ1ities of daily living (IADLs), and cognition assessed according to Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) scores of older African-American and non-Hispanic white community-dwelling men and women.


Cross-sectional study assessing associations between self-reported ADL and IADL difficulty and MMSE scores for race- and sex-specific groups.


Homes of community-dwelling older adults.


A random sample of 974 African-American and non-Hispanic white Medicare beneficiaries aged 65 and older living in west-central Alabama and participating in the University of Alabama at Birmingham Study of Aging, excluding those with reported diagnoses of dementia or with missing data.


Function, based on self-reported difficulty in performing ADLs and IADLs, and cognition, using the MMSE. Multivariable linear regression models were used to test the association between function and cognition in race- and sex-specific groups after adjusting for covariates.


Mini-Mental State Examination scores were modestly correlated with ADL and IADL difficulty in all four race- and sex-specific groups, with Pearson correlation coefficients ranging from −0.189 for non-Hispanic white women to −0.429 for African-American men. Correlations between MMSE and ADL or IADL difficulty in any of the race- and sex-specific groups were no longer significant after controlling for sociodemographic factors and comorbidities.


Mini-Mental State Examination was not significantly associated with functional difficulty in older African-American and non-Hispanic white men and women after adjusting for sociodemographic factors and comorbidities, suggesting a mediating role in the relationship between cognition and function.

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