Subjective Memory in a National Sample: Predicting Psychological Well-Being

Jacqueline A. Mogle, Nikki Hill, Caroline McDermott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Background: Individual perception of memory performance (i.e., subjective memory) is assessed using a variety of approaches. This article focuses on 2 such approaches: (1) self-comparison assessments that attempt to capture changes in memory ability over a period of time and (2) age-Anchored comparisons that assess how an individual perceives their memory in relation to others their age. These different types of assessment may relate to psychological well-being differently due to the underlying mechanisms of assessment. Objective: The purpose of these analyses is to examine 2 measures of subjective memory (i.e., a self-comparison measure and an age-Anchored comparison measure) as predictors of psychological well-being among adults in mid-and late life. Methods: Participants (n = 3,434) in the Midlife in the United States Study completed measures of subjective memory, depressive affect, and life satisfaction. Structural equation modeling was used to examine whether the self-comparison and age-Anchored comparison measures had differential predictive utility regarding psychological well-being. Results: Higher age-Anchored comparison ratings were related to higher life satisfaction scores. There was a significant interaction between the 2 items such that individuals with lower ratings on both subjective memory measures had the poorest outcomes. Additionally, age-Anchored comparisons interacted with age: older adults had the poorest outcomes when they reported poorer age-Anchored comparisons. Conclusion: These findings highlight the importance of precise measurement in the consideration of subjective memory. How an individual was asked to rate his or her perception of memory influenced the relationships between subjective memory and psychological well-being. This study contributes valuable insight into the importance of the assessment models of subjective memory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)460-468
Number of pages9
Issue number5
StatePublished - Aug 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aging
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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