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Perceptions of Risk Factors for Alzheimer Disease Among Community-Dwelling, Nondemented Older African Americans

Glover, Crystal M. PhD*,†; CoCroft, Shelytia PhD‡,§; James, Bryan D. PhD†,∥; Barnes, Lisa L. PhD*,†,¶

Alzheimer Disease & Associated Disorders: July–September 2019 - Volume 33 - Issue 3 - p 254–259
doi: 10.1097/WAD.0000000000000314
Original Articles

Purpose: Heightened Alzheimer disease (AD) risk among African Americans represents a racial disparity in aging. This study examines perceptions of AD risk factors among nondemented older African Americans.

Methods: Participants indicated how important nine factors were in increasing one’s AD risk using a Likert-type scale with endpoints 1=not at all important to 4=extremely important. We examined perceptions of AD risk factors as a function of age, education, gender, and global cognition using separate logistic regression models.

Patients: Participants were from The Minority Aging Research Study (N=610) with a mean age of 74.5 years, a mean education of 14.9 years, and 24% were men.

Results: Of the AD risk factors, predictors were significantly related to genetics and God’s Will. Younger participants (est.=−0.06, P=0.02) and those with more education (est.=0.14, P=0.02) were more likely to report genetics as extremely important. Participants with more education were less likely to indicate God’s Will as extremely important (est.=−0.14, P<0.0005).

Conclusions: Among older African Americans, age and education were important characteristics for the perception of AD risk factors. Findings can facilitate designing effective, culturally competent educational tools for meaningful engagement with older African Americans about AD.

*Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Alzheimer’s disease Center

Department of Internal Medicine

Department of Neurological Sciences, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, IL

Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development, Duke University

§Joseph and Kathleen Bryan Alzheimer’s disease Research Center, Department of Neurology, Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, NC

L.L.B.: is currently receiving grants (RF1AG022018; R01AG056405; P3010161) from the National Institutes of Health. C.M.G.: is currently receiving a Diversity Supplement to grant (P30AG10161) from the National Institutes of Health. B.D.J.: is currently receiving a grant (K01AG050823) from the National Institutes of Health. The remaining authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Reprints: Crystal M. Glover, PhD, Rush University Medical Center, 1750 West Harrison Street, Suite 1000, Chicago, IL 60612 (e-mail:

Received September 27, 2018

Accepted March 25, 2019

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