All ETDs from UAB


Emiri Matsuda

Advisory Committee Chair

Emily B Levitan

Advisory Committee Members

Michael G Crowe

Virginia J Howard

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Master of Science in Public Health (MSPH) School of Public Health


Performance on mobility assessments has been extensively linked to processing speed and executive function among older adults. However, less is known about the relationship between cognitive function and functional mobility as part of day to day life. African American individuals are at higher risk of cardiovascular complications, functional mobility, and cognitive decline compared to Whites. In addition, cardiovas-cular disease risk factors and neuropathology have been linked to impairment in several domains of cognitive function, including processing speed. The current study examined the cross-sectional association between life-space and cognitive function, specifically performance on the Digit Symbol Substitution Test (DSST), a measure of visuomotor processing speed and executive function, among community dwelling African American and White older adults. Linear regression was used to examine the relationship between life-space and cognitive function and whether the association differs by Cardiovascular Disease Risk profile (low risk, medium risk, high risk, and history of CHD) and race (Af-rican-American or White). Cardiovascular disease risk was determined using the Pooled Cohort Risk Equation and clinical characteristics for history of CHD. Data was collected as part of the Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) study (n=30,239). Life-space was modestly associated with DSST scores after adjusting for demographics, physical function, and other covariates. This association was strongest among Non-Hispanic Whites and individuals at Low Risk of CVD (<10% 10-year pre-dicted risk of ASCVD). Maximizing life-space may therefore help improve cognitive outcomes among those at risk or with a history of cardiovascular disease. Further re-search is needed on the clinical utility of incorporating life-space into cardiovascular disease risk profiles in the delivery of tailored, preventative care.

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