Cognitive functioning in the last year of life as a function of age, gender, and race

C. Y. Yoder, S. Weitzen, L. Williams Pickle, B. Grant, D. Herrmann, S. B. Schnitzer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Research has shown that many factors affect cognitive functioning. In this study cognitive functioning was analyzed using proxy reports concerning 17,135 decedents included in the 1993 National Followback Mortality Study conducted for the National Center for Health Statistics. These responses form a representative sample of all U.S. residents over age 15 who died in 1993 (except for those in South Dakota, which did not participate). Decedents had more difficulty understanding where they were than remembering what year it was or in recognizing family members. Logistic regression models found that age, gender, and race were the most important predictors of these basic cognitive functions. Although increasing age was associated with more cognitive difficulties, men had fewer deficits than women and Black Americans tended to have fewer deficits than White Americans. Possible reasons for these findings are discussed as well as some general implications for health service provision.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)241-256
Number of pages16
JournalExperimental Aging Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 20 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aging
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology(all)
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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