Older adults' concerns about cognitive health: Commonalities and differences among six United States ethnic groups
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We studied concerns about cognitive health among ethnically diverse groups of older adults. The study was grounded in theories of health behaviour and the representation of health and illness. We conducted 42 focus groups (N=396, ages 50+) in four languages, with African Americans, American Indians, Chinese Americans, Latinos, Whites other than Latinos (hereafter, Whites) and Vietnamese Americans, in nine United States locations. Participants discussed concerns about keeping their memory or ability to think as they age. Audio recordings were transcribed verbatim. Constant comparison methods identified themes. In findings, all ethnic groups expressed concern and fear about memory loss, losing independence, and becoming a burden. Knowing someone with Alzheimer's disease increased concern. American Indians, Chinese Americans, Latinos and Vietnamese Americans expected memory loss. American Indians, Chinese Americans and Vietnamese Americans were concerned about stigma associated with Alzheimer's disease. Only African Americans, Chinese and Whites expressed concern about genetic risks. Only African Americans and Whites expressed concern about behaviour changes. Although we asked participants for their thoughts about their ability to think as they age, they focused almost exclusively on memory. This suggests that health education promoting cognitive health should focus on memory, but should also educate the public about the importance of maintaining all aspects of cognitive health. © 2010 Cambridge University Press.
Published Version (Please cite this version)10.1017/S0144686X10001273
Publication InfoLaditka, JN; Laditka, SB; Liu, R; Price, AE; Wu, B; Friedman, DB; ... Logsdon, RG (2011). Older adults' concerns about cognitive health: Commonalities and differences among six United States ethnic groups. Ageing and Society, 31(7). pp. 1202-1228. 10.1017/S0144686X10001273. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/5979.
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Pauline Gratz Distinguished Professor of Nursing in the School of Nursing
Bei Wu, PhD, is Pauline Gratz Professor of Nursing, Director for International Research at the School of Nursing, and a member of the Global Health Institute. She is also a senior fellow at the Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development. Dr. Wu’s areas of research expertise include aging and global health. Dr. Wu received her M.S. and Ph.D. in gerontology from the University of Massachusetts, Boston. She is a fellow of the Gerontological Society of America (GSA) and the