Depressive Symptoms as a Predictor of Memory Complaints in the PRISM Sample

Jong Sung Yoon, Neil Charness, Walter R. Boot, Sara J. Czaja, Wendy A. Rogers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objectives The current study investigated baseline and longitudinal relationships between memory complaints, depressive symptoms, and cognition in older adults. Method Using the sample from the Personal Reminder Information and Social Management trial, we generated path models predicting self-rated memory complaints measured by the Memory Functioning Questionnaire (MFQ). Results Our baseline models showed that more depressive symptoms were associated with reporting more frequent forgetting incidents and a greater decline in memory function. The baseline models also revealed that higher scores in a latent cognitive function were associated with reporting a greater decline in memory functioning and a greater use of mnemonics. However, cognitive predictors did not mediate the baseline associations between the MFQ measures and depressive symptoms. Further, these predictors were not able to directly predict the 12-month MFQ measures over and above the baseline effects. Including personality traits (neuroticism and conscientiousness) did not significantly affect the models. Discussion Our results suggest that memory complaints about frequency of forgetting can be the most reliable indicator of depression risk among the four factors in the MFQ. We discuss theoretical implications for longitudinal relationships between memory complaints, depressive symptoms, and cognitive function in older adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)254-263
Number of pages10
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 10 2019



  • Cognitive function
  • Depression
  • Longitudinal change
  • Subjective memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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