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I rate my memory quite similar at age 40 and at age 70. Findings in a Swedish longitudinal study on subjective memory over a 30-year period

Journal article
Authors Boo Johansson
Marcus Praetorius
Valgeir Thorvaldsson
Published in GeroPsych - Journal of Gerontopsychology and Geriatric Psychiatry
Publication year 2020
Published at Department of Psychology
Centre for Ageing and Health (Agecap)
Language en
Keywords Subjective memory, test, longitudinal, invariance and correlates of ratings
Subject categories Psychology

Abstract

In 1987, we administered a subjective memory questionnaire to 143 40-year old men and thirty-years later 67 of them again responded to the same questionnaire at age 70. At the follow-up, we also instructed participants to answer the questionnaire in the same manner as they thought they did at age 40 and to perform a picture recognition and a public event test. We employed confirmatory factor analysis to model a latent subjective memory construct. A single factor solution provided acceptable model fit to data (χ2(12) = 9.33, p = 0.68; χ2(12) = 10.48, p = 0.57), and a decent reliability at both ages for the subjective memory measurements (omega = .82 and .93, respectively). Our longitudinal invariance testing revealed only a partial weak invariance. We also fitted a latent change score model to the data. As expected, participants on average rated their memory as poorer at age 70 than at 40. Those who reported better overall health and less anxiety reported less memory decline until age 70. Notably, this was also the case for those who rated memory as worse at age 40. Higher stress and depression at age 70 were, however, associated with worse subjective memory already at age 40. The correspondences between memory ratings and tests were low. The correlation between the subjective memory factors at age 40 and 70 was 0.58, while the correlation between the memory factor at age 70 and the retrospective subjective memory factor was 0.87. Our findings suggest that subjective memory is quite consistent and that we are inclined to preserve continuity of own memory functioning over the adult life span.

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