Cognitive Training for Ethnic Minority Older Adults in the United States: A Review

Marian Tzuang, Jocelynn T. Owusu, Adam P. Spira, Marilyn S. Albert, George W. Rebok

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Purpose of the Study Interest in cognitive training for healthy older adults to reduce cognitive decline has grown considerably over the past few decades. Given the shift toward a more diverse society, the purpose of this review is to examine the extent of race/ethnic minority participation in cognitive training studies and characteristics of studies that included race/ethnic minority participants. Design and Methods This review considered peer-reviewed studies reporting cognitive training studies for cognitively healthy, community-dwelling older adults (age 55+) in the United States published in English before December 31, 2015. A total of 31 articles published between 1986 and 2015 meeting inclusion criteria were identified and included in the review. Results A total of 6,432 participants were recruited across all of the studies, and ranged in age from 55 to 99 years. Across all studies examined, 39% reported racial/ethnic background information. Only 3 of these studies included a substantial number of minorities (26.7% in the ACTIVE study; 28.4% in the SeniorWISE study; 22.7% in the TEAM study). Race/ethnic minority older adults were disproportionately underrepresented in cognitive training studies. Implications Further research should aim to enroll participants representative of various race/ethnic minority populations. Strategies for recruitment and retention of ethnic minority participants in cognitive training research are discussed, which could lead to the development of more culturally appropriate and perhaps more effective cognitive interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e311-e324
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 14 2018


  • Cognition
  • Diversity and ethnicity
  • Intervention
  • Preventive medicine/care/services

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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