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

3 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

Funding Information:
The NACC database is funded by NIA/NIH Grant U01 AG016976. NACC data are contributed by the NIA-funded ADCs: P30 AG019610 (PI Eric Reiman, MD), P30 AG013846 (PI Neil Kowall, MD), P50 AG008702 (PI Scott Small, MD), P50 AG025688 (PI Allan Levey, MD, PhD), P50 AG047266 (PI Todd Golde, MD, PhD), P30 AG010133 (PI Andrew Saykin, PsyD), P50 AG005146 (PI Marilyn Albert, PhD), P50 AG005134 (PI Bradley Hyman, MD, PhD), P50 AG016574 (PI Ronald Petersen, MD, PhD), P50 AG005138 (PI Mary Sano, PhD), P30 AG008051 (PI Thomas Wis-niewski, MD), P30 AG013854 (PI Robert Vassar, PhD), P30 AG008017 (PI Jeffrey Kaye, MD), P30 AG010161 (PI David Ben-nett, MD), P50 AG047366 (PI Victor Henderson, MD, MS), P30 AG010129 (PI Charles DeCarli, MD), P50 AG016573 (PI Frank LaFerla, PhD), P50 AG005131 (PI James Brewer, MD, PhD), P50 AG023501 (PI Bruce Miller, MD), P30 AG035982 (PI Russell Swerdlow, MD), P30 AG028383 (PI Linda Van Eldik, PhD), P30 AG053760 (PI Henry Paulson, MD, PhD), P30 AG010124 (PI John Trojanowski, MD, PhD), P50 AG005133 (PI Oscar Lopez, MD), P50 AG005142 (PI Helena Chui, MD), P30 AG012300 (PI Roger Rosenberg, MD), P30 AG049638 (PI Suzanne Craft, PhD), P50 AG005136 (PI Thomas Grabowski, MD), P50 AG033514 (PI Sanjay Asthana, MD, FRCP), P50 AG005681 (PI John Morris, MD), P50 AG047270 (PI Stephen Strittmatter, MD, PhD).

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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