Age of Migration and Cognitive Function among Older Latinos in the United States

Marc A. Garcia, Kasim Ortiz, Sandra P. Arévalo, Erica D. Diminich, Emily Briceño, Irving E. Vega, Wassim Tarraf, Lilian Calderón-Garcidueñas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Age of migration has been shown to have a robust association with Latino immigrant health outcomes; however, the relationship between timing of migration and cognition is less understood. Objective: To examine associations between race/ethnicity, nativity, age of migration, and cognitive aging among US-born (USB) non-Latino Whites (NLW) and USB and foreign-born Latinos 50 years and older. Methods: We used longitudinal biennial data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS; 2006-2014) to fit generalized linear and linear latent growth curve models for: 1) global cognition (Modified Telephone Interview for Cognitive Status; TICS-M); 2) memory and attention subdomains of TICS-M; and 3) cognitive dysfunction. We also tested for sex modifications. Results: In age and sex adjusted models, all Latino subgroups, independent of nativity and age of migration, had lower global and domain-specific cognitive scores and higher propensity of cognitive impairment classification compared to USB-NLWs. Differences between USB Latinos, but not other Latino subgroups, and USB-NLWs remained after full covariate adjustment. Latinas, independent of nativity or age of migration, had poorer cognitive scores relative to NLW females. Differences between all Latinos and USB-NLWs were principally expressed at baseline. Racial/ethnic, nativity, and age of migration grouping was not associated with slope (nor explained variance) of cognitive decline. Conclusion: Older US-born Latinos, regardless of sex exhibit poorer cognitive function than older USB-NLWs and foreign-born Latinos. Social determinants that differentially affect cognitive function, particularly those that compensate for education and sex differences among US-born Latinos and foreign-born Latinos, require further exploration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1493-1511
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2020


  • Alzheimer's disease and related dementias
  • Latino
  • cognitive function
  • immigration
  • nativity
  • sex differences


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