Informant Personality Is Associated With Ratings of Memory Problems in Older Adults

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Abstract

Memory complaints are a key diagnostic criterion for dementia and mild cognitive impairment. Rating scales can be used to capture information about individuals’ memory problems from informants such as family members. However, problems with scale reliability suggest that individual differences influence the ratings informants provide. This project tested whether informants’ neuroticism was associated with their ratings of an older adult’s memory. In an online study, 293 volunteers completed a Five-Factor Personality Questionnaire and used 2 memory questionnaires to provide ratings of memory problems in an older individual they knew well. Rater neuroticism correlated positively with estimates of memory problems: More neurotic informants provided higher estimates of memory difficulties in the person they were rating. A second study replicated this finding with 786 volunteers and another widely used memory measure, the AD8. In both studies, exploratory analyses suggested the effect size was large enough to impact on clinical practice.

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