Stress and Cognitive Functioning in Latinx Adults

Our prior work has shown that culture-specific factors are important to consider when evaluating the association between stress and cognitive function (Munoz et al., 2019). The Daily Life Experiences and cognition study (DaLE), seeks to understand how daily experiences of Latinx adults relate to their cognitive functioning. Participants (N = 100, between 45 and 65 years of age) will complete surveys on a study-provided smartphone for two weeks. Surveys query daily experiences of general and ethnic stressors, along with daily social contact, activities, and uplifts, followed by a few brain games. The overall goal of this study is to increase our understanding of risk and protective factors for reduced cognitive health among Latinx adults, addressing the following aims:

  1. To evaluate daily associations between experiences of discrimination and performance on cognitive tasks of attention and memory.
  2. To identify psychological mechanisms (e.g., increased negative affect) from experiences of discrimination to cognitive functioning.
  3. To investigate psychosocial sources of resilience in the association between experiences of discrimination and cognitive function by testing the moderating role of individual differences in psychological (e.g., purpose in life) and social (e.g., familism) resources.


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    Neighborhoods, Stress, & Cognitive Health

The neighborhood environments where individuals grow up and develop can be sources of resilience or stress that support or diminish cognitive health (e.g., Clark et al., 2012). Living in a neighborhood that is perceived to be problematic or stressful may promote psychological distress that may impair cognitive abilities in the moment (e.g., Stawski et al., 2006) and promote cognitive decline over longer periods of time (Munoz et al., 2015). A central focus in our lab is to understand how neighborhood environments may elicit feelings of stress and how such feelings may lead to reduced cognitive function in the moment and over time. We leverage data from studies such as CATSLife and ESCAPE with residential address data from early childhood to midlife and longitudinal and ecological momentary assessments of cognition, affect, and health symptoms to address these questions.