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J Abnorm Psychol. 1994 May;103(2):361-70.

Episodic memory functioning in a community-based sample of old adults with major depression: utilization of cognitive support.

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Stockholm Gerontology Research Center, Karolinska Institute, Sweden.


Community-based samples of old adults with current major depression (n = 17; mean age = 83.29 years) and healthy old adults (n = 51; mean age = 83.29 years) were examined on a variety of episodic recall and recognition tasks. Results indicate depression-related deficits in recall that were reduced, but not eliminated, in recognition. Control Ss were able to utilize cognitive support in the form of more study time and item organizability in free recall, whereas depressed Ss were not. However, both groups showed equal gains from the provision of category cues and beneficial effects of prior knowledge and more study time in recognition. Results suggest that depression results in deficits in effortful, elaborate processes at encoding and retrieval and that old age depression is associated with a reduced ability to utilize cognitive support to improve episodic memory. Depressed older adults appear to require cognitive support at both encoding and retrieval to demonstrate memory facilitation.

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