Black/White differences in the relationship between MMSE scores and disability: The Women's Health and Aging Study

Suzanne G. Leveille, Jack M. Guralnik, Luigi Ferrucci, M. Chiara Corti, Judith Kasper, Linda P. Fried

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The purpose of this article is to examine Black/White differences among older women in the relationship between physical functional difficulties and variations in cognitive status, measured within the low to high normal range of the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE). We studied 3,585 women with MMSE scores of lB and above from a population-based random sample of 3,841 community-dwelling women aged 65 and older living in East Baltimore, Maryland. Trained interviewers administered the MMSE and obtained information on demographics, medical conditions, and functional difficulties. Prevalence of any functional difficulty was 43.3% in Whites and 48.5% in Blacks, who were 25% of the study sample. After adjusting for age and education, a significant trend for increasing functional difficulty with decreasing MMSE scores was found in White women but not in Black women. Since no explanation for these racial differences could be identified, these findings suggest that the MMSE may not be a valid predictor of functional difficulty in Black women who score ≤18 on the instrument.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)P201-P208
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Volume53
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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