Subjective memory beliefs and cognitive performance in normal and mildly impaired older adults.
Previous research suggests that subjective perceptions of memory may be related to objective memory performance. In the present study, healthy community-dwelling elders (N = 73, mean age = 75.25 years, education = 16.2 years) completed a neuropsychological assessment, including two questionnaires of subjective memory beliefs. Each participant was identified, via consensus conference, as belonging to either an amnestic mild cognitive impairment (MCI, n = 16) or no mild cognitive impairment (noMCI, n = 57) group. Results indicated that subjective memory capacity beliefs were significantly related to verbal memory performance in the MCI group, but not in the noMCI group. This differential relationship persisted even after controlling for depressive symptoms, and was not reflective of unequal variances in the two groups. Thus, results indicate that subjective memory beliefs may be better indicators of performance in those with possible incipient cognitive impairment than normal older adults, perhaps because persons with MCI have heightened insight into their memory functioning, and that this relationship is not due to group differences in depressive symptoms.
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