The link between depressive symptoms, negative cognitive bias and memory complaints in older adults

M. K. Crane, H. R. Bogner, G. K. Brown, J. J. Gallo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Objectives: We sought to examine the relationship between depressive symptoms and subjective memory problems. We hypothesized that the relationship between depressive symptoms and poor subjective memory functioning is mediated by negative cognitive bias that is associated with hopelessness, a wish to die and low self-esteem. Methods: Complete data were available for 299 older adults with and without significant depressive symptoms who were screened in primary care offices and invited to participate, completed a baseline in-home assessment. Subjective memory functioning and psychological status was assessed with commonly used, validated standard questionnaires. Results: In regression models that included terms for age, gender and cognitive measures, depressive symptoms were significantly inversely associated with the global self-assessment of memory (β=-0.019; p=0.006). When components of negative cognitive bias were included in the model (hopelessness, low self-esteem, a wish to die), the relationship of depressive symptoms with subjective memory problems was attenuated, consistent with mediation. Conclusions: Our results suggest that assessment and successful interventions for memory complaints in non-demented older adults need to account for negative cognitive bias as well as depressive symptoms. Longitudinal research is needed to confirm our findings before a mediator relationship can be presumed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)708-715
Number of pages8
JournalAging and Mental Health
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Phychiatric Mental Health
  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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