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Subjective Memory Complaints in healthy older adults: Fewer complaints associated with depression and perceived health, more complaints also associated with lower memory performance

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Objectives: (i) To analyze if general cognitive performance, perceived health and depression are predictors of Subjective Memory Complaints (SMC) contrasting their effect sizes; (ii) to analyze the relationship between SMC and objective memory by comparing a test that measures memory in daily life and a classical test of associated pairs; (iii) to examine if different subgroups, formed according to the MFE score, might have different behaviors regarding the studied variables. Methods: Sample: 3921 community-dwelling people (mean age= 70.41 dt =4.70) without cognitive impairment. Consecutive non-probabilistic recruitment. Assessment: Mini Cognitive Exam (MCE), daily memory Rivermead Behavioural Memory Test (RBMT), Paired Associates Learning (PAL), Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS), Nottingham Health Profile (NHP). Dependent variable: Memory Failures Everyday Questionnaire (MFE). Results: Two different dimensions to explain SMC were found: One subjective (MFE, GDS, NHP) and other objective (RBMT, PAL, MCE), the first more strongly associated with SMC. SMC predictors were NHP, GDS, RBMT and PAL, in this order according to effect size. Considering MFE scores we subdivided the sample into three groups (low, medium, higher scores): low MFE group was associated with GDS; medium, with GDS, NPH and RBMT, and higher, with age as well. Effect size for every variable tended to grow as the MFE score was higher. Conclusion: SMC were associated with both health profile and depressive symptoms and, in a lesser degree, with memory and overall cognitive performance. In people with fewer SMC, these are only associated with depressive symptomatology. More SMC are associated with depression, poor health perception and lower memory.
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Montejo, P., Montenegro-Peña, M., López-Higes, R., Estrada, E., Prada, D. P., Montejo, C. & García Azorín, D. (2017). Subjective Memory Complaints in healthy older adults: Fewer complaints associated with depression and perceived health, more complaints also associated with lower memory performance. Archives of gerontology and geriatrics, 70, 28-37.
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