Parental dementia and subjective memory impairment in the health and retirement study

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Objectives: To examine relationships between subjective memory impairment (SMI) and parental dementia among in older adults while considering the interactive influence of depressive symptoms, ethnicity, and race. Method: The sample was drawn from the Health and Retirement Study, a nationally representative longitudinal study of aging (n = 3,809; M age = 66.09; SD = 1.88; 84.20% White; 12.23% Black; 7.88% Hispanic). Biennial assessments included two measures of SMI (current memory problems and perceived memory decline), depressive symptoms, and parental dementia, over periods of up to sixteen years. Multilevel modeling analyses examined longitudinal relationships between parental dementia and SMI and whether depressive symptoms, ethnicity, and race interactively influenced this association. Results: Results showed that when older adults reported parental dementia, they were more likely to report a decline in memory in the past two years. They also reported poorer current memory problems, especially when they experienced increased depressive symptoms. Associations of parental dementia were consistent across ethnicity and race. Conclusions: Results demonstrate the importance of considering parental dementia as a factor that may contribute to SMI in older adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)992-1000
Number of pages9
JournalAging and Mental Health
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Phychiatric Mental Health
  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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