Mini-mental state exam performance of older african americans: Effect of age, gender, education, hypertension, diabetes, and the inclusion of serial 7s subtraction versus "world" backward on score

Keith A. Hawkins, Jennifer R. Cromer, Andrea S. Piotrowski, Godfrey D. Pearlson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Abstract

    The Mini-Mental State Exam (MMSE) is a clinically ubiquitous yet incompletely standardized instrument. Though the test offers considerable examiner leeway, little data exist on the normative consequences of common administration variations. We sought to: (a) determine the effects of education, age, gender, health status, and a common administration variation (serial 7s subtraction vs. "world" spelled backward) on MMSE score within a minority sample, (b) provide normative data stratified on the most empirically relevant bases, and (c) briefly address item failure rates. African American citizens (N = 298) aged 55-87 living independently in the community were recruited by advertisement, community recruitment, and word of mouth. Total score with "world" spelled backward exceeded total score with serial 7s subtraction across all levels of education, replicating findings in Caucasian samples. Education is the primary source of variance on MMSE score, followed by age. In this cohort, women out-performed men when "world" spelled backward was included, but there was no gender effect when serial 7s subtraction was included in MMSE total score. To ensure an appropriate interpretation of MMSE scores, reports, whether clinical or in publications of research findings, should be explicit regarding the administration method. Stratified normative data are provided.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)645-652
    Number of pages8
    JournalArchives of Clinical Neuropsychology
    Volume26
    Issue number7
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Nov 2011

    Keywords

    • African American
    • MMSE
    • Mini-Mental State Exam
    • Norms
    • Test administration method

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
    • Clinical Psychology
    • Psychiatry and Mental health

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