Normative verbal and non-verbal memory test scores for Australian women aged 56–67

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Abstract

Objective

To establish normative data for tests of verbal and non-verbal memory for midlife Australian-born women, and in so doing investigate factors which contribute to variation in test performance.

Method

Two hundred and fifty-seven healthy women aged 56–67 years (mean age 60), who are participating in the Melbourne Women's Midlife Longitudinal Health Project, were administered two word list learning tasks, a story recall task (the East Boston Memory Test) and the Faces subtest from the Wechsler Memory Scale III as part of a larger neuropsychological battery. Word list learning tasks consisted of either 16 semantically related words, derived from the California Verbal Learning Test II, or a list of 10 unrelated words. Mood was assessed by the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression questionnaire.

Results

Education was significantly related to memory performance and there was a non-significant trend for test scores to decline with age. Mood was unrelated to test performance. A confirmatory factor analysis indicated a clear distinction between verbal and non-verbal memory performances. Mean scores were stratified by education (less than 12 years vs. 12 or more years) and age (56–59 vs. 60–67 years), and scaled normative data were constructed for all the tests.

Conclusion

This study provides education-based normative data for tests of verbal and non-verbal memory for midlife Australian women. The establishment of population-based normative data will facilitate future investigations of ageing and dementia in Australian women.

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