Race differences in intellectual control beliefs and cognitive functioning

Sarah W. Kennedy, Jason C. Allaire, Alyssa A. Gamaldo, Keith E. Whitfield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background/Study Context: The current study examined the relationship between intellectual control and cognition and related the results to everyday problem solving in a mixed ethnicity sample of 35% African American and 65% Caucasian elders. Methods: Participants completed the Personality in Intellectual Aging Contexts Inventory (PIC; Lachman et al., 1982, Journal of Research in Personality, 16, 485-501), Everyday Cognition Battery (ECB; Allaire & Marsiske, 1999, Psychology & Aging, 14, 627-644; 2002, Psychology & Aging, 17, 101-115), and a battery of basic cognitive ability tests assessing memory, inductive reasoning, and verbal meaning. Results: Results indicated that African Americans had significantly lower intellectual control beliefs relative to Caucasian older adults. Regression models suggested that relationship between control beliefs and cognition was moderated by education and race. Decomposing the interactions with simple slope analysis revealed that across cognitive abilities, better cognitive performance was related to higher control beliefs in African Americans with at least 13 years of education. A similar relationship was also found in Caucasian elders with lower education. Conclusion: African American elders reaching a higher level of education may provide a basis for which individual differences in intellectual control beliefs are activated and thereby more strongly associated with cognitive performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)247-264
Number of pages18
JournalExperimental Aging Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


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