Neighborhood segregation and cognitive change: Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis

Lilah M. Besser, Oanh L. Meyer, Miranda R. Jones, Duyen Tran, Michaela Booker, Diana Mitsova, Rachel Peterson, James E. Galvin, James R. Bateman, Kathleen M. Hayden, Timothy M. Hughes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Introduction: We investigated associations between neighborhood racial/ethnic segregation and cognitive change. Methods: We used data (n = 1712) from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis. Racial/ethnic segregation was assessed using Getis-Ord (Gi*) z-scores based on American Community Survey Census tract data (higher Gi* = greater spatial clustering of participant's race/ethnicity). Global cognition and processing speed were assessed twice, 6 years apart. Adjusted multilevel linear regression tested associations between Gi* z-scores and cognition. Effect modification by race/ethnicity, income, education, neighborhood socioeconomic status, and neighborhood social support was tested. Results: Participants were on average 67 years old; 43% were White, 11% Chinese, 29% African American/Black, 17% Hispanic; 40% had high neighborhood segregation (Gi* > 1.96). African American/Black participants with greater neighborhood segregation had greater processing speed decline in stratified analyses, but no interactions were significant. Discussion: Segregation was associated with greater processing speed declines among African American/Black participants. Additional follow-ups and comprehensive cognitive batteries may further elucidate these findings. Highlights: A study of neighborhood racial/ethnic segregation and change in cognition. Study was based on a racially and geographically diverse, population-based cohort of older adults. Racial/ethnic segregation (clustering) was measured by the Getis-ord (Gi*) statistic. We saw faster processing speed decline among Black individuals in segregated neighborhoods.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1143-1151
Number of pages9
JournalAlzheimer's and Dementia
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2023


  • cognition
  • cognitive decline
  • community
  • ethnicity
  • longitudinal
  • neighborhood
  • processing speed
  • race
  • racial
  • segregation
  • social determinants of health
  • structural determinants
  • Black or African American
  • Humans
  • Asian
  • Hispanic or Latino
  • Ethnicity
  • White
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Aged
  • Residential Segregation


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