Abstract

Executive dysfunction is correlated with disability in tasks of daily living. Less is known about the relationship between cognition, particularly executive dysfunction, and physical performance. This study investigated how executive ability, measured by the Trail Making Test, Part B (TMT-B), Controlled Oral Word Association test (COWA) and Animal Naming (AN), related to completion of physical tasks on the Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB). The sample included 68 urban-dwelling Black adults ages 59–95. AN and TMT-B accounted for 6.2% and 7.1% of the variance, respectively, in SPPB total score after controlling for general cognitive functioning (Mini Mental Status Exam) and demographics. COWA and the MMSE did not obtain significance. Only the TMT-B remained significant after accounting for illness burden. Findings suggest that executive ability is related to physical performance in older urban Black adults more than general cognitive functioning. This relationship is attenuated by illness burden.