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Title: Prospective Effects of Discrimination, Depressive Symptoms, and Cognitive Control Among Mexican-Origin Women
Abstract Objectives

Cognitive control predicts functional independence and cognitive health outcomes, but is yet to be known the extent to which social stress, like discrimination, may diminish cognitive control capacities in Mexican-origin women. We evaluated the prospective associations between everyday and ethnic discrimination on cognitive control and examined the mediating effects of depressive symptoms on these links. We further examined the extent to which associations varied by age and financial strain.


We used data from 596 Mexican-origin women (average age = 38.89, standard deviation = 5.74) who participated in a 3-wave longitudinal study spanning 8 years (from 2012 to 2020). Participants completed measures of everyday and ethnic discrimination at Wave 1, depressive symptoms in Waves 1 and 2, and completed computer-based tasks of cognitive control at Wave 3. Self-reported assessments of financial strain were completed at Wave 2. Moderated mediation structural equation models were implemented to test hypotheses.


Depressive symptoms significantly mediated the prospective association between everyday/ethnic discrimination to cognitive control. Higher levels of everyday and ethnic discrimination at baseline were associated with more depressive symptoms at Wave 2, which were then related to poorer cognitive control (i.e., longer reaction time in congruent and/or incongruent trials) at Wave 3. There was no significant moderation of age. Among those with low financial strain, higher levels of everyday discrimination were related to faster response times.


Results revealed the long-term consequences of experiences with discrimination on cognitive control that operate through increased depressive symptoms and that may have some subtle differential effects across levels of financial strain.

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Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ; ; ;
Publisher / Repository:
Oxford University Press
Date Published:
Journal Name:
The Journals of Gerontology: Series B
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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