Interactive Effects of Chronic Health Conditions and Financial Hardship on Episodic Memory among Older Blacks: Findings from the Health and Retirement Study

Byrd, D. R., Gonzales, E., Moody, D. L. B., Marshall, G. L., Zahodne, L. B., Thorpe, R. J., Jr., Whitfield, K. E.

Previous research links chronic health conditions and financial hardship to cognitive outcomes among older Blacks. However, few studies have explored the moderating effect of financial hardship on chronic disease burden and specific cognitive domains. This study examined whether financial hardship (as measured by difficulty paying monthly bills) modifies the impact of self-reported chronic health conditions (e.g., diabetes, stroke) on episodic memory among 871 older Blacks (50+ years) in the Health and Retirement Study (2006). Financial hardship modified the association between chronic disease burden and episodic memory performance such that individuals who reported very little difficulty paying their monthly bills had significantly lower memory scores at high levels of disease burden compared to those reporting high financial difficulty after controlling for age, gender and education (F 2, 49 = 5.03, p= 0.010). This cross-sectional study suggests that both financial and physical wellbeing may have joint effects on cognitive health in older Blacks.

Topic(s): Economic Burden
Health Condition(s): General/non-specific
Year Published: 2020
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