How valid are subjective ratings of prospective memory in mild cognitive impairment and early dementia?

Thompson, Claire L., Henry, Julie D., Rendell, Peter G., Withall, Adrienne, and Brodaty, Henry (2015) How valid are subjective ratings of prospective memory in mild cognitive impairment and early dementia? Gerontology, 61 (3). pp. 251-257.

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Background: Prospective memory refers to memory for future intentions and is a critical predictor of functional capacity in late adulthood. For many other cognitive abilities, self- and informant-rated methods of assessment are routinely used to guide clinical decision-making. However, little is known about the validity (and consequently the clinical utility) of subjective reports of prospective memory difficulties. Objective: The aim of this study was to compare clinical [mild cognitive impairment (MCI), dementia] and nonclinical older adults (healthy controls) on self- and informant-rated versions of prospective and retrospective memory function, as well as objective measures of prospective memory. Critical here was not only the assessment of between-group differences, but also whether these different methods of assessing memory function would show appropriate convergent and discriminant validity. Methods: A total of 138 participants aged between 64 and 92 years, diagnosed with dementia (n = 37), MCI (n = 48) or no impairment (n = 53), were asked to complete self- and informant-rated versions of the Prospective and Retrospective Memory Questionnaire (PRMQ). Participants also completed behavioural measures of global cognitive function [the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE)], as well as a behavioural measure of prospective memory (Virtual Week). Results: Self-reported impairments were equivalent across the three groups, and informant reports of impairment, while higher for those with dementia, did not distinguish MCI from controls. For the combined sample and for all three groups separately, both self- and informant reports of prospective memory showed poor convergent validity, at best correlating only weakly with Virtual Week. Self-reported prospective memory was correlated with informant report only in the dementia group, not in the control or MCI groups. Convergent and discriminant validity were poor, with self- and informant-rated prospective memory more strongly related to self- and informant-rated retrospective memory than to scores on Virtual Week. Conclusion: These data indicate that self-report and informant report may neither accurately measure prospective memory of older people, nor be sensitive to objective prospective memory difficulties in people with MCI and dementia. These data have potentially important implications for clinical practice.

Item ID: 37988
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1423-0003
Keywords: subjective memory complaint, self-report, informant report, prospective memory, mild cognitive impairment, dementia, prospective and retrospective memory questionnaire, virtual week
Date Deposited: 11 Jun 2015 02:38
FoR Codes: 17 PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES > 1701 Psychology > 170106 Health, Clinical and Counselling Psychology @ 50%
17 PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES > 1701 Psychology > 170102 Developmental Psychology and Ageing @ 50%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9205 Specific Population Health (excl. Indigenous Health) > 920502 Health Related to Ageing @ 10%
92 HEALTH > 9201 Clinical Health (Organs, Diseases and Abnormal Conditions) > 920112 Neurodegenerative Disorders Related to Ageing @ 90%
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