Neuroticism (Not Depressive Symptoms) Predicts Memory Complaints in Some Community-Dwelling Older Adults.

Document Type

Journal Article




Faculty of Health, Engineering and Science


School of Psychology and Social Science/Cognition Research Group




This article was originally published as: Merema, M. R., Speelman, C. P., Foster, J., & Kaczmarek, E. A. (2013). Neuroticism (Not Depressive Symptoms) Predicts Memory Complaints in Some Community-Dwelling Older Adults. American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 21(8), 729-736. Original article available here


Objectives: To examine whether depressive symptoms are useful predictors of subjective memory complaints in community-dwelling older adults, beyond the predictive utility already provided by memory performance and characteristics of personality. Design: Using hierarchical regression, we examined the relationship between depressive symptoms and subjective memory complaints, controlling for age, gender, education, memory performance, conscientiousness, and neuroticism. Participants: Community-dwelling older adults aged 66 to 90 years (N = 177) who responded to a newspaper advertisement for a memory study in Perth, Western Australia. Measurements: The General Frequency of Forgetting scale (for memory complaints), Depression Anxiety Stress Scales (for depressive symptoms), NEO-Five Factor Inventory (for conscientiousness and neuroticism), and the Visual Reproduction and Logical Memory subtests from the Wechsler Memory Scale—4th Edition (for visual and verbal memory). Results: The hierarchical regression analysis indicated that while depressive symptoms significantly predicted memory complaints after variance associated with age, gender, education, memory performance, and conscientiousness was partialled out, they accounted for almost none of the variance in complaints when neuroticism was partialled out. Conclusions: The well-established relationship between depression and memory complaints may exist in some community-dwelling older adult populations only on account of the manner in which both are associated with neuroticism.