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Aging Ment Health. 2012;16(7):931-7. doi: 10.1080/13607863.2012.684667. Epub 2012 May 21.

Online memory screening--are older adults interested and can it work?

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Centre for Research on Ageing, Health and Wellbeing, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia.


Subjective memory concerns are common in older adults and may prompt the use of web-based cognitive screening. Websites which purport to provide memory screening are numerous and can influence health behaviours; however there is currently limited evidence regarding their validity. The current research aims to assess potential user's attitudes and motivations regarding online cognitive screening and to evaluate the preliminary evidence for the feasibility and validity of two subjective online cognitive measures. The sample consisted of community-based older adults, 30 with, and 30 without, memory concerns. Participants rated their likelihood of their accessing online cognitive screening and gave rationales. Participants' performance on objective pen and paper measures of cognition was compared to performance on subjective online screening measures. The majority of participants indicated they would access online cognitive screening. A total of 100% of participants were able to use the online tools without assistance. None of the online measures was positively associated with the pen and paper screening measures. Anxiety and depression were significantly associated with subjective memory concerns. This study provided no supporting evidence for the validity of either subjective online screening measure assessed. Anxiety and depression were significantly associated with subjective cognition, indicating that, although they may not predict objective cognition, complaints about memory in older adults should be taken seriously by health professionals.

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