Date of Degree
PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Janet P. Specht
Although there are ample studies confirming that memory self-efficacy (MSE) declines with age, less is known about what factors account for the variation in MSE among older adults.
The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between MSE, diagnostic and clinical characteristics, and subsequent episodic memory performance in older adults. A nonprobability sample of 200 cognitively normal and older adults with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) participating in a longitudinal population-based study investigating the incidence, prevalence and risk factors for MCI completed a questionnaire about self-referent beliefs of MSE. Bandura's (1989) selfefficacy theory and the Integration Model (Whittemore, 2005) informed the descriptive study. Pearson product-moment correlations, a general linear model and a multiple linear regression analysis were conducted. The difference in MSE ratings between the cognitively normal group and the MCI group tested as a whole was significant when adjusting for age, gender and educational attainment (p < .001; ES= 0.585). The overall regression model explained 17 % of the variance of MSE (p < .001) and included age, gender, educational attainment, APOE 4 genotype, family history of dementia, cognitive diagnosis and depressive symptoms. After controlling for age and the other variables of interest, cognitive classification and depression were significant predictors of MSE.
Higher MSE ratings were correlated with better episodic memory performance for both groups (r = .273, p < .001). Memory training that capitalizes on the benefits accruing from higher MSE is needed for cognitively normal older adults and older adults with MCI.
Copyright 2012 Mary Ellen Stolder