Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



The detection of cognitive decline is crucial for early intervention and management. However, there is a lack of research on detecting early cognitive decline and measuring bias in instruments among African Americans (AAs), who are at a heightened risk for dementia development. Additionally, the impact of psychosocial factors on perceived cognitive efficacy in this population is not well understood. Therefore, this study aimed to assess measurement bias in a measure of subjective memory concerns (SMC) among older AA adults, examine ethnoracial differences in the relationship between mood-related factors and SMC, and explore the impact of psychosocial variables on the report of SMC in this population.

The study included 464 AA and 286 non-Hispanic White (NHW) individuals aged 55 and older. Participants completed demographics questionnaires, the Multifactorial Memory Questionnaire- Ability subscale (MMQ-A), and measures assessing dysphoria, dementia worry, perceived discrimination (PD), and social activity (SA). Measurement invariance testing was used to examine measurement bias, moderation analyses were conducted to explore the impact of ethnoracial group on the report of SMC, and multiple regressions were performed to evaluate the relationship between psychosocial variables and SMC in AAs.

The results showed that the MMQ-A performed consistently across AA and NHW individuals, indicating that it is a reliable measure of SMC. Dysphoria was negatively associated with SMC ratings, suggesting that higher levels of dysphoria were associated with more cognitive concerns. However, the relationship between dysphoria and SMC did not differ between AA and NHW individuals. Dementia worry was a significant predictor of SMC, with the relationship between dementia worry and SMC ratings being smaller for AAs compared to v

NHW individuals. In AAs, PD and SA did not significantly predict SMC beyond the effects of depression.

These findings highlight the importance of considering racial differences and psychosocial factors when assessing cognitive concerns. Understanding how these factors influence the perception of cognitive decline is crucial for accurate detection and intervention among older AA adults. Further research is needed to better understand the impact of psychosocial factors on cognitive efficacy in this population and to develop culturally sensitive measures for detecting early cognitive decline.



Committee Chair

Calamia, Matthew

Available for download on Saturday, August 15, 2026