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Journal Article

Performance of older Japanese American adults on selected cognitive instruments

This study examined cognitive test performance of second- and third-generation Japanese American (JA) adults, a relatively homogeneous Asian American subgroup. Sixty-five JA and 65 non-Hispanic White (NHW) adults, ages between 45 and 91, were administered the Boston Naming Test-2 (BNT), Letter Fluency Test, Semantic Fluency Test, California Verbal Learning Test (CVLT), Brief Visuospatial Memory Test-Revised (BVMT-R), and Trail Making Test. Levels of acculturation, quality of educational attainment, and generation status in the United States, were also collected. There were no significant differences in the scores between the two groups on the tests administered. JA and NHW groups, however, differed in the patterns of the associations between some of the test performance and demographic variables. JA adults showed a stronger age-score relationship on BNT, CVLT, and the BVMT-R. Furthermore, second-generation JA adults performed lower than the third-generation adults even after controlling for basic demographic variables on CVLT and Trail Making Test. Acculturation on the other hand did not explain score differences once demographic variables were considered. Our results suggest the importance of considering unique history and characteristics of ethnic groups, and interactions of the aging process and culture on tasks with different cognitive demands.

N. Kemmotsu
Y. Enobi
C. Murphy
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