DOI: 10.1002/alz.074500 ISSN: 1552-5260

Childhood and life‐course socioeconomic position and cognitive function in adult population of the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos (HCHS/SOL)

Paola Filigrana, Jee‐Young Moon, Linda C Gallo, Lindsay E Fernandez‐Rhodes, Krista M Perreira, Martha L Daviglus, Bharat Thyagarajan, Olga L Garcia‐Bedoya, Jianwen Cai, Richard B. Lipton, Robert C. Kaplan, Hector M González, Carmen R Isasi
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Neurology (clinical)
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Health Policy
  • Epidemiology



The Hispanic/Latino population experiences extensive socioeconomic adversity across the lifespan and is at greater risk of cognitive decline. Yet little is known about the role of life‐course socioeconomic position (SEP) and cognitive function in this population. We assessed the association between childhood SEP and cognitive function in Hispanic/Latino adults, whether this association is mediated by midlife SEP, and whether socioeconomic mobility is associated with cognitive function.


We used baseline data (2008‐2011) from 9556 adults aged 45‐74 years of the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latino (HCHS/SOL), a multi‐center cohort study conducted in four major U.S cities. We determined childhood SEP using parental educational attainment. Midlife SEP was determined through an index combining participants’ education and household income. We classified participants into socioeconomic mobility categories from childhood to adulthood (e.g., persisting low, upward mobility). Cognitive function was ascertained using neurocognitive tests, including the Six‐Item Screener; Brief‐Spanish English Verbal Learning Test Sum and Recall, Controlled Oral Word Association (or Word Frequency), and the Digit Symbol Substitution Test. Using confirmatory factor analysis and these tests we created a global cognition score. We also standardized z‐score of these neurocognitive measures. Survey linear regression models were performed adjusting for age, sex, Hispanic background, U.S born, smoking, depression, and cardiovascular factors. We also conducted mediation analysis to decompose the direct effect of childhood SEP on cognition and the indirect effect through midlife SEP.


Childhood SEP showed a graded association with cognitive function in adulthood with a dose‐response relationship across levels of parental education (β and [95% Confidence Interval (CI)]): Elementary/middle school vs. No schooling 0.34 [0.25‐0.43]; High school (HS) vs. No schooling: 0.53 [0.42‐0.64]; and >HS vs. No schooling: 0.68 [0.57‐0.79]). High midlife SEP was also associated with greater cognitive function relative to low midlife SEP. 37% (95% CI 32%‐44%) of the association between childhood SEP and cognition was mediated through midlife SEP. Holding a high SEP over the life‐course was associated with greater cognitive performance (β: 0.90, 95% CI: 0.79‐1.00) as compared with a persisting low SEP.


This study provides evidence that childhood and life‐course SEP influence cognitive performance in adulthood

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