Metamemory Perceptions in Depressions of Young and Older Adults

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This research investigated how depression in two age groups related to responses on a metamemory questionnaire (MMQ), and to the correspondence between MMQ self-reports and performance on memory tests. Forty-four younger and 56 older women were clinically assessed and completed both the MMQ and a series of experimental memory procedures. Data on 11 MMQ subscales were analyzed by analysis of variance, x2 and canonical correlation techniques. Compared with controls, depressed subjects tended to report more generalized and extensive memory difficulties, particularly in recent as opposed to remote memory, but were not deficient in basic metamemory knowledge and did not manifest different perceptions regarding age changes in memory or regarding its personal significance. There was no evidence for a differential impact of late-life depression on metamemory perceptions, reflected by the general absence of age-by-depression interactions. Cumulatively, self-reports correlated .598 with objective measures, a relationship that did not vary as a function of age or depression. Reports about the retention of “important” information and about the use of recall strategies were identified as the only self-report measures reliably associated with performance.

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