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Associations Between Objective and Subjective Socioeconomic Status and Amyloid Beta Deposition

Drake, Jermon (2023) Associations Between Objective and Subjective Socioeconomic Status and Amyloid Beta Deposition. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Lower socioeconomic status (SES) is associated with risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease (AD). However, whether SES is related to amyloid beta (Aβ) pathology among cognitively normal individuals remains unknown. Additionally, we have yet to determine how one’s self-perception of social standing may likewise relate to risk for AD. This study addressed these gaps by examining the relationships of objective and subjective SES indices with Aβ.
Data of 352 cognitively normal older adults; average age = 69.37 (+ 3.53) from Investigating Gains in Neurocognition in an Intervention Trial of Exercise were included in the current analyses. Structural MRI and PET imaging were used to measure amyloid deposition. To capture global Aβ deposition, a composite standardized uptake value ratio (SUVR) was calculated for each participant by averaging the SUVR throughout the brain. Individuals were considered positive for Aβ if their composite SUVR exceeded an a priori cutoff of 1.10. Objective SES was measured using items related to annual income, education, debt, savings, and standard of living maintenance from the MacArthur Socioeconomic Status Index. Subjective SES was measured using the US ladder from the MacArthur Socioeconomic Status Index.
Linear and logistic regression models revealed that after controlling for age and study site, objective and subjective SES were negatively associated with Aβ levels and those with lower levels of objective and subjective SES were more likely to meet criteria for Aβ positivity. Annual income was only associated with Aβ levels, while years of education was not associated with Aβ levels nor Aβ positivity. However, when including annual income and years of education in a single regression model, annual income was no longer significantly associated with Aβ levels. Lastly, when including annual income and subjective SES in a single model, the association between annual income and Aβ levels was no longer significant; however, the association between subjective SES and Aβ levels remained significant. Similarly, subjective SES remained significantly associated with Aβ positivity even when controlling for annual income.
These findings may suggest that objective and subjective indices of SES explain significant variation in Aβ levels in cognitively normal older adults, which may help to explain disparities in AD diagnosis attributable to educational, income, and social inequalities.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Drake, Jermonjad305@pitt.edujad305
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairErickson,
Committee MemberGianaros,
Committee MemberMarsland,
Date: 16 May 2023
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 21 July 2022
Approval Date: 16 May 2023
Submission Date: 7 April 2023
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 72
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Psychology
Degree: MS - Master of Science
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Socioeconomic Status, Amyloid Beta, Alzheimer's Disease, Older Adults
Date Deposited: 16 May 2023 14:09
Last Modified: 16 May 2023 14:09


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