The influence of noncognitive factors on the Mini-Mental State Examination in older Mexican-Americans: findings from the Hispanic EPESE. Established Population for the Epidemiologic Study of the Elderly

Black, S.A.; Espino, D.V.; Mahurin, R.; Lichtenstein, M.J.; Hazuda, H.P.; Fabrizio, D.; Ray, L.A.; Markides, K.S.

Journal of Clinical Epidemiology 52(11): 1095-1102


ISSN/ISBN: 0895-4356
PMID: 10527004
DOI: 10.1016/s0895-4356(99)00100-6
Accession: 068724557

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Mini-Mental State Examination data from the Hispanic Established Population for the Epidemiologic Study of the Elderly baseline survey, a population-based study of community-dwelling Mexican Americans aged 65 and older, were used to examine the relationship between cognitive impairment, sociodemographics, and health-related characteristics. The rate of cognitive impairment found in this group of older Mexican Americans, using the conventional cut point of 23/24 on the MMSE, was 36.7%. Using a more conservative cut point of 17/18 indicated an overall rate of severe cognitive impairment of 6.7%. Rates of impairment varied significantly with age, education, literacy, marital status, language of interview, and immigrant status and were associated with high and moderate levels of depressive symptoms, and history of stroke. Importantly, although education was strongly related to poor cognitive performance, it was not a significant predictor of severe cognitive impairment. Multivariate analyses further indicated that as a screen for cognitive impairment in older Mexican Americans, the MMSE is strongly influenced by these noncognitive factors. Scores may reflect test bias, secondary to cultural differences or the level of education in this population.