Association between everyday perceived discrimination and cognitive function as mediated by depression in diverse populations: A HABS-HD Study




0009-0008-3079-0492 (Mendoza, Edna Patricia)

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Purpose: Previous research suggests that perceived discrimination is associated with cognitive function impairment, and such association is mediated by depression. With minority populations continuously growing, it is crucial to investigate such relationships in diverse populations. This study aims to examine and compare the above relationships among non-Hispanic white (NHW), Mexican American (MA), and African American (AA) participants. Method: A sample size of 1,129 participants (640 AAs, 248 NHWs, 241 MAs) aged 50+ came from the Health and Aging Brain Study – Health Disparities (HABS-HD). Structural equation modelling (SEM) was conducted to explore the effect between perceived discrimination, measured by the Everyday Discrimination Scale mean score, and cognitive function, measured by the Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE) Score. The mediation effect of depression, measured by the Geriatric Depression Scale total score, was evaluated by the indirect effect estimate using SEM. Result: Everyday perceived discrimination negatively influenced cognitive function, and the effect was mediated by depression across the three populations (β= -0.15, 95% CI = [-0.22, -0.08]). When stratified, the mediation effect of depression on the association between discrimination and cognitive function remained significant for NHW (β= -0.37, 95% CI = [-0.60, -0.15]) and MA (β = -0.27, 95% CI = [-0.50, -0.05]). However, such mediation effect was not observed for the AA population. Conclusion: Depression mediates the link between everyday discrimination and cognitive decline, but differences between racial/ethnic groups underscore the need for further research into underlying mechanisms among minority groups, including Mexican American and African American populations. Depression interventions may mitigate negative cognitive effects from discrimination. Tailoring such interventions by race/ethnicity and targeting at-risk groups could optimally promote cognitive health.