Social support, physical functioning, and cognitive functioning among older African American adults.
Social support and functional ability are related to a number of outcomes in later life among African Americans, including cognitive performance. This study examined how providing and receiving social support was related to fluid and crystallized cognitive abilities among aging African American adults after accounting for functional limitations, age, education, sex, income, and self-reported health. Data from 602 African American adults (M = 69.08, SD = 9.74; 25% male) were analyzed using latent variable modeling. Fluid ability was a second-order factor indicated by measures that assessed verbal memory, working memory, perceptual speed, and inductive reasoning. Crystallized ability was a first-order factor indicated by three measures that assessed vocabulary (Shipley Verbal Meaning Test and parts A and B of the ETS Vocabulary Test). Results indicated that the receipt of social support was negatively related to both fluid and crystallized abilities, while the provision of support was positively related to fluid and crystallized ability. Follow-up tests found that the receipt of support was more strongly related to fluid ability than crystallized ability. There was no significant difference regarding the relationship of provision of support with fluid ability compared to crystallized ability. Results discuss the importance of considering the social context of older adults when examining cognitive ability.
Ayotte, BJ; Allaire, JC; Whitfield, KE
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