Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society

Research Articles

Construct validity of cognitive reserve in a multiethnic cohort: The Northern Manhattan Study

KAREN L. SIEDLECKIa1, YAAKOV STERNa1a2 c1, AARON REUBENa1, RALPH L. SACCOa3a4, MITCHELL S.V. ELKINDa2 and CLINTON B. WRIGHTa3a4

a1 Cognitive Neuroscience Division, Taub Institute for Research in Alzheimer’s Disease and the Aging Brain, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, New York

a2 Department of Neurology, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, New York

a3 Division of Cognitive Disorders, Department of Neurology, Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami, Miami, Florida

a4 Evelyn F. McKnight Center for Age Related Memory Loss, Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami, Miami, Florida

Abstract

Cognitive reserve is a hypothetical construct that has been used to inform models of cognitive aging and is presumed to be indicative of life experiences that may mitigate the effects of brain pathology. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the construct validity of cognitive reserve by examining both its convergent and its discriminant validity across three different samples of participants using structural equation modeling. The cognitive reserve variables were found to correlate highly with one another (thereby providing evidence of convergent validity), but demanding tests of discriminant validity indicated that, in two of the samples, the cognitive reserve construct was highly related to an executive functioning construct. (JINS, 2009, 15, 558–569.)

(Received August 29 2008)

(Reviewed April 08 2009)

(Accepted April 13 2009)

Correspondence:

c1 Correspondence and reprint requests to: Yaakov Stern, Cognitive Neuroscience Division, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Taub Institute for Research in Alzheimer’s Disease and the Aging Brain, Columbia University, 630 West 168th Street, New York, New York 10032. E-mail: ys11@columbia.edu

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