Early life circumstances influence health across the life span. Migration and ethnicity may modify the lifetime trajectory of socioeconomic status (SES) and lead to heterogeneity in cognitive aging in later life. We examined the effects of both lifetime socioeconomic trajectory and cumulative disadvantage from childhood through adulthood on late life cognitive performance in a 9-year cohort of 1,789 Mexican Americans aged 60-100 years in 1998-1999. Compared with those with low SES sustained over the life course, we found that those with more advantaged lifetime SES trajectories experienced fewer declines on a test of global cognitive function and a short-term verbal memory test. These associations are larger in first- and second-generation immigrant families. Heterogeneity of cognitive aging among diverse race/ethnic groups may be influenced by intergenerational changes in SES, cultural norms, and behaviors and changes in health related to changes in the social and physical environment.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Journal||Journals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences|
|Volume||66 Suppl 1|
|State||Published - Jul 2011|
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