Subjective Memory Complaints Are an Important Surrogate for Objective Cognitive Performance in African Americans

M. Bailee Boggess, Justin M. Barber, Gregory A. Jicha, Allison Caban-Holt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Purpose:Subjective memory complaints (SMCs) have been shown to be associated with lower neuropsychological test scores cross-sectionally. However, it remains unclear whether such findings hold true for African American (AA) older adults.Methods:Baseline visit data from the National Alzheimer's Coordinating Center database collected from September 2005 to March 2018 were used. Generalized linear mixed models specifying binomial distributions were used to examine how neuropsychological test scores affect the likelihood of reporting SMCs.Patients:Inclusion criteria were participants who reported AA as their primary race, 60 to 80 years of age, were cognitively unimpaired, and had a Mini-Mental Status Examination score ≥26. A total of 1021 older AA adults without missing data met the criteria.Results:A total of 258 participants reported a SMC. SMCs were more likely with lower scores on measures of episodic memory and processing; however, SMCs were also more likely with higher scores on a measure of working memory. Working memory appeared to mediate reporting of SMC among participants with lower episodic memory scores.Discussion:These findings demonstrate that SMCs are associated with lower scores on objective neuropsychological measures among older AAs. Additional work is needed to determine whether SMCs are further associated with a risk for clinical transition to mild cognitive impairment or dementia among AA older adults.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-84
Number of pages6
JournalAlzheimer Disease and Associated Disorders
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.


  • African Americans
  • cognitive aging
  • logistic models
  • neuropsychological tests
  • self report

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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