The impact of satisfaction of life on cognitive functioning in Black elder adults: A correlational study
Lower cognitive test scores have often led to misdiagnosis of cognitive functioning in Black elder adults limiting their ability to live independently. The purpose of this study was to examine the effect that satisfaction of life has on Black elder adult cognitive functioning measured through cognitive test scores. The research question—“What is the impact of satisfaction with life on cognitive test scores of Black elder adults living in community dwellings?”—assumes the more satisfied one is with life, the greater the cognitive performance on cognitive tests. This study used two different questionnaires to collect the survey data. The Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE) frequently used to determine the severity of elder adult cognitive decline and the Satisfaction With Life Scale (SWLS) widely used to determine self-descriptions of elder adult attitude and behavior. Black elder adults actively participating in the community completed both the MMSE and SWLS to offer a clearer picture of Black elder adult cognitive decline. While 90% of the respondents self-reported being satisfied, the difference in cognitive test scores appeared to rely on previous education and memory recall. Using inferential tests of significance Chi-square, Pearson’s r and the F test indicated that education (and memory) is a greater predictor of cognitive performance than cognitive ability. Cognitive tests that measure behavior through education and memory do not appear to measure cognitive ability, but rather the performance on these tests may indicate a response to repetitive behavior (memory). Cognitive functioning should be a primary consideration when engaging older adults with suspected cognitive impairment and their level of satisfaction influenced by education is something that also should be considered when making mental health assessments.