Relationship of Demographic and Health Factors to Cognition in Older Adults in the ACTIVE Study

Daniel F. Rexroth, Frederick W. Unverzagt, Sharon L. Tennstedt, Lin T. Guey, Yan xu, Richard N. Jones, Richard N. Jones, George W. Rebok, George W. Rebok, Michael M. Marsiske

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Examine the relationship of demographics and health conditions, alone and in combination, on objective measures of cognitive function in a large sample of community-dwelling older adults. Method: Baseline data from 2,782 participants in the Advanced Cognitive Training in Independent and Vital Elderly (ACTIVE) study were used to examine relationships of demographics and health conditions with composite scores of memory, reasoning, and speed of processing. Results: Younger age, increased education, and White race were independently associated with better performance in each cognitive domain after adjusting for gender and health conditions. Male gender, diabetes, and suspected clinical depression were associated with poorer cognitive functioning; suspected clinical depression was associated with lower reasoning and diabetes and history of stroke with slower speed of processing. Discussion: Age, education, and race are consistently associated with cognitive performance in this sample of older community-dwelling adults. Diabetes, stroke, and suspected clinical depression had independent but weaker effects on cognition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)128S-146S
JournalJournal of Aging and Health
StatePublished - Dec 2013


  • cognitive aging
  • cognitive functioning
  • memory
  • older adults
  • reasoning
  • speed

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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