Differential item functioning in the Mini-Mental State Examination in English- and Spanish-speaking older adults

Sarah C. Marshall, Dan M Mungas, Minda Weldon, Bruce R Reed, Mary Haan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

46 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to determine if the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMS; M.F. Folstein, S.E. Folstein, and P.R. McHugh, 1975) demonstrates item bias with respect to measuring cognitive functioning of older Hispanics and non-Hispanics. Assessment of differential item functioning (DIF) of individual MMS items across 3 language/ethnicity groups (English test administration/ non-Hispanic ethnicity, English test administration/Hispanic ethnicity, and Spanish test administration/Hispanic ethnicity) was performed by using a logistic regression procedure. Fifteen of the 26 MMS items were significantly related to total score and were shown to provide unbiased measurement across the 3 groups. Normative data are presented for older Hispanics (n = 365) and non-Hispanics (n = 388) on the raw MMS, a 15-item version in which items with significant DIF were eliminated, and a total score statistically adjusted for effects of education and age.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)718-725
Number of pages8
JournalPsychology and Aging
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1997


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology

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