The Utility of Word List and Story Recall for Identifying Older U.S. Chinese Immigrants With Cognitive Impairment

Clara Li, Yue Hong, Kun Wang, Judith Neugroschl, Carolyn W. Zhu, Xiaoyi Zeng, Xiao Yang, Amy Aloysi, Hillel Grossman, Dongming Cai, Jessica Spat-Lemus, Jane Martin, Margaret Sewell, Mary Sano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: This study examined the utility of the Chinese-language translations of the word list memory test (Philadelphia Verbal Learning Test) and story memory test (Logical Memory subtest of the Wechsler Memory Scale) for differentiating cognitive diagnosis in older U.S. Chinese immigrants. Method: Participants were ≥60 years old, with Chinese language proficiency to complete a diagnostic workup at the Mount Sinai’s Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center. The workup included an evaluation by a geriatric psychiatrist and cognitive testing with a psychometrician. Diagnosis of normal, mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and dementia was made independent of the cognitive tests at consensus led by a dementia expert physician. Multivariable logistic regression models were used to assess the sensitivity of story and word list memory tests for distinguishing between groups. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC area/area under the curve [AUC]) was used to compare the predictive accuracy of the two tests. Results: The sample included 71 participants with normal cognition, 42 with MCI, and 24 with dementia. The MCI group was older and less educated than normal controls but younger and more educated than the dementia group. Delayed recall of both memory tests, but not immediate recall of either test, predicted diagnosis. While composite memory score of word list (AUC = 0.90) predicted diagnosis slightly better than that of stories (AUC = 0.85), the difference was not significant in this small sample (p =.14). Conclusions: Chinese-language translations of verbal memory tests, in particular delayed recall scores, were equally sensitive for classifying cognitive diagnosis in older U.S. Chinese immigrants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)966-974
Number of pages9
Issue number8
StatePublished - May 25 2023
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 American Psychological Association


  • cognitive deficits
  • dementia
  • mild cognitive impairment
  • older U.S. Chinese immigrants
  • verbal memory tests

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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