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J Am Geriatr Soc. 1994 Jan;42(1):1-4.

Subjective memory complaints and personality traits in normal elderly subjects.

Author information

1
Department of Neurology, University of Kuopio, Finland.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To evaluate the relationship between objectively measured memory functions and subjective complaints of memory disturbance and whether subjective complaints are affected by some personality traits or affective states.

DESIGN:

Cross-sectional two-group comparison.

SETTING:

The city of Kuopio in Eastern Finland, considered representative of the urban elderly population of Finland.

PARTICIPANTS:

Originally 403 subjects aged 67-78 years from the random sample and then two matched study groups initially including eighteen subjects but only ten in the final analysis.

MEASUREMENTS:

Screening and follow-up examinations of subjects with and without subjective memory complaints: (1) Memory functions: Benton's visual retention test and the paired-associated learning subtest of Wechsler Memory Scale. (2) Memory complaints: Memory Complaint Questionnaire. (3) Personality traits and affective state: Two subscales from Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory and Geriatric Depression Scale.

RESULTS:

Complaints of memory loss did not correlate with the actual memory performance in the tests. However, those subjects who most emphatically complained of memory disturbance had greater tendencies toward somatic complaining, higher feelings of anxiety about their physical health, and more negative feelings of their own competence and capabilities than those who did not complain of memory deterioration associated with aging.

CONCLUSIONS:

The study suggests that subjective feelings of memory impairment are more closely associated with personality traits than with actual memory performance in normal elderly people.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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