Older adults with poor self-rated memory have less depressive symptoms and better memory performance when perceived self-efficacy is high: Self-efficacy, depressive symptoms, subjective, and objective memory

O'Shea, Deirdre M.; Dotson, Vonetta M.; Fieo, Robert A.; Tsapanou, Angeliki; Zahodne, Laura; Stern, Yaakov

Objective: To investigate whether self-efficacy moderates the association between self-rated memory and depressive symptoms in a large sample of older adults. The influence of self-efficacy and depressive symptoms on memory performance was also examined in a subsample of individuals who reported poor memory. Methods: Non-demented participants (n = 3766) were selected from the 2012 wave of the Health and Retirement Study. Depressive symptomatology was assessed with the 8-item Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale. A modified version of the Midlife Developmental Inventory Questionnaire was used as the measure of self-efficacy. Participants were asked to rate their memory presently on a five-point scale from Excellent (1) to Poor (5). Immediate memory and delayed memory (after a 5-min interval) were measured by the number of correct words recalled from a 10-item word list. Results: Multiple regression analyses revealed that negative ratings of memory were significantly associated with greater levels of depressive symptoms, with this effect being greatest in those with low levels of self-efficacy. Additionally, greater self-efficacy was associated with optimal objective memory performances but only when depressive symptoms were low in individuals who reported poor memory function (n = 1196). Conclusion: Self-efficacy moderates the relationship between self-rated memory function and depressive symptoms. Higher self-efficacy may buffer against the impact of subjective memory difficulty on one’s mood and thereby mitigating the effect of depressive symptoms on memory. Interventions should focus on increasing perceived self-efficacy in older adults reporting poor memory function to potentially minimize memory impairment.



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International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry

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February 11, 2022