Memory Complaint in a Community Sample aged 70 and Older

TitleMemory Complaint in a Community Sample aged 70 and Older
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2000
AuthorsTurvey, CL, Schultz, SK, Arndt, S, Wallace, RB, Herzog, AR
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
KeywordsAdult children, Demographics, Health Conditions and Status, Methodology

OBJECTIVES: The ability of older people to estimate their own memory, often referred to as metamemory, has been evaluated in previous studies with conflicting reports regarding accuracy. Some studies have suggested that an older person's metamemory is mostly accurate, whereas others have demonstrated little relationship between memory complaint and actual impairment. This study examines memory complaint in a large national sample of older people aged or = 70. DESIGN: A longitudinal cohort study with two waves of data collection spaced 2 years apart. SETTING: A nationwide random sample of community-dwelling older persons. PARTICIPANTS: A total of 5,444 community-dwelling persons aged or = 70 and their spouses. MEASUREMENTS: Participants were asked if they believed their memory was excellent, very good, good, fair, or poor. They were then administered a cognitive assessment derived from the Mini-Mental Status Exam. RESULTS: In general, people's assessment of their memory corresponded with their actual performance on cognitive measures. However, large portions of the sample inaccurately assessed their memory skills. People who reported depressive symptoms and had impairment in activities of daily living were more likely to state that their memory was impaired, although they performed very well on cognitive measures. CONCLUSIONS: The conditions that skew people's self-assessment are the ones most likely to bring them into contact with healthcare professionals. This may give clinicians the general impression that older people cannot assess their own cognitive skills. However, poor metamemory appears to be a characteristic of a specific subgroup of older persons, not necessarily characteristic of the general population.

Endnote Keywords

Aged, 80 and Over/Cognition/Depressive Disorder/Educational Status/Gender/Geriatric Assessment/Longitudinal Studies/Marital Status/Memory/Self Assessment (Psychology)/Support, U.S. Government--PHS

Endnote ID


Citation Key6701