Theses and Dissertations - UTB/UTPA

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. Philip Gasquoine

Second Advisor

Dr. Kristin Croyle

Third Advisor

Dr. Jason Popan


Studies have linked bilingualism to later age of onset of Alzheimer’s disease in comparison to monolinguals. It has been theorized that in bilinguals inhibitory control is consistently used to suppress one language, leading to enhanced executive functioning and an increase in cognitive reserve. The effect of bilingualism on age of diagnosis was investigated retrospectively using data from the Sacramento Area Latino Study on Aging. This involved a longitudinal cohort of 1,789 Hispanic Americans > 65 years of age. Within the cohort there were 128 cases of dementia: 85 diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and 43 diagnosed with vascular dementia. Analysis of variance found no significant effect of bilingualism on dementia age of onset for either dementia variant. Sociocultural factors particular to Hispanic Americans, such as delayed clinical assessment, and methodological factors such as use of initial clinic visit as date of onset, confounding years of education, and variable definitions of bilingualism may explain effects observed in previous studies.


Copyright 2014 Deborah Lawton. All Rights Reserved.

Granting Institution

University of Texas-Pan American

Included in

Psychology Commons