Objective: To determine whether subjective memory complaints (SMCs) are associated with performance on objective cognitive measures and psychological factors in healthy, community-dwelling older adults.
Method: The cohort was composed of adults, 65 years and older with no clinical evidence of cognitive impairment (n = 125). Participants were administered: CogState computerized neurocognitive battery, Prospective Retrospective Memory Questionnaire, personality and meaning-in-life measures.
Results: SMCs were associated with poorer performance on measures of executive function (p = 0.001). SMCs were also associated with impaired delayed recall (p = 0.006) but this did not remain significant after statistical adjustment for multiple comparisons. SMCs were inversely associated with conscientiousness (p = 0.004) and directly associated with neuroticism (p < 0.001). Higher scores on SMCs were associated with higher perceived stress (p = 0.001), and ineffective coping styles (p = 0.001). Factors contributing to meaning-in-life were associated with fewer SMCs (p < 0.05).
Conclusions: SMCs may reflect early, subtle cognitive changes and are associated with personality traits and meaning-in-life in healthy, older adults.
Keywords: cognitive performance; healthy; meaning-in-life; older adults; personality traits; subjective memory complaints.