Sex influences the accuracy of subjective memory complaint reporting in older adults

For the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Subjective memory complaints (SMC) are required when diagnosing amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI), although their relationship with objective memory performance and Alzheimer's disease (AD) pathology remains unclear. We investigated whether the sex of the patient/participant moderates these associations. Participants were 940 normal control (NC) and aMCI participants from the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative. SMC were assessed via the memory scale of the Everyday Cognition questionnaire. Discrepancy scores were calculated between self-and informant-reports and categorized into "overestimates," "comparable estimates", and "underestimates" of SMC. We conducted linear and logistic regressions to examine the interaction of sex with self-and informant-reported SMC and discrepancy group on the Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test (RAVLT) Immediate and Delayed Recall and on PET measures of amyloid-β (Aβ) positivity. Diagnosis-stratified analyses were also conducted. Overall, there were sex by self-and informant-reported SMC interactions for Immediate and Delayed Recall. Despite a higher proportion of "overestimates" in women, greater self-and informantreported SMC showed a stronger relationship to poorer RAVLT scores in women versus men. Diagnosis-stratified analyses revealed that results were driven by aMCI participants. Conversely, overall, greater self-and informant-reported SMC related to greater odds of Aβ positivity regardless of sex. In diagnosis-stratified analyses, only informant-reported SMC related to Aβ positivity in aMCI. Relative to "comparable estimates," "underestimates" of SMC were associated with poorer RAVLT scores across sexes in the overall sample and in aMCI. The predictive utility of self-report SMC may be limited to women in aMCI. Sex differences should be considered when evaluating SMC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1163-1178
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2018


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Amyloid
  • Awareness
  • Cognitive reserve
  • Mild cognitive impairment
  • Sex differences memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'Sex influences the accuracy of subjective memory complaint reporting in older adults'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this