To report descriptive and normative data for the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) in a population-based African American sample.
The MoCA was administered to 1,419 African American participants (mean age 49.89 years, range 18–75, 64% female). After excluding those with subjective cognitive complaints ( n = 301), normative data were generated by education and overlapping age ranges ( n = 1,118). Pearson correlations and analysis of variance were used to examine the relationship to demographic variables, and frequency of missed items was reviewed.
Total MoCA scores (mean 22.3, SD 3.9) were lower than previously published normative data derived from an elderly Caucasian Canadian population with 80% falling below the suggested cutoff (<26) for impairment. Several MoCA items were missed by a large portion of the sample, including cube drawing (72%), delayed free recall (66% <4/5 words), sentence repetition (63%), and abstraction items (45%).
This is the first study to examine normative performance on the MoCA specific to community-dwelling African Americans. Findings suggest that certain aspects of this measure and previously established cutoff scores may not be well-suited for some populations.