Black elders, depression, metamemory, memory performance, memory self-efficacy



  1. McDougall, Graham J.


Background: The ability to differentiate between normal functioning and pathologic changes in cognitive aging will be enhanced by descriptive studies providing data from diverse samples of older adults.


Methods: In this study, demographics, depression, health, memory self-efficacy, and metamemory were studied in relation to the memory performance of Black and White American older adults. Community-living adults participated in face-to-face interviews in their apartments or homes. Trained registered nurse interviewers administered all structured questionnaires (subjective) and performance tests (objective), including the Rivermead Behavioural Memory Test. Descriptive statistics, independent sample t-tests, Pearson correlations, and hierarchical regression were used in the analyses.


Results: The sample consisted of 89 Black and 83 White adults (mean age, 76.52 years), and their Mini-Mental State Examination scores were in the nonimpaired range. The memory self-efficacy scores of the entire sample were low (M = 31.95 +/- 18.20). The Black elders scored lower on memory self-efficacy and memory performance. Memory self-efficacy predicted memory performance in the White group (r [83] = .41; p <= .05), but the correlation for the Black group was nonsignificant (r [89] = .16). However, when the entire sample was combined for the regression analyses, the relation was significant (r [173] = .30; p <= .05). Age, education, and memory self-efficacy accounted for 13% of the variance in memory performance.


Conclusions: Objective and subjective memory scores were decreased, and both measures provided insight into the participants' everyday memory function. The sample had low confidence in their memory ability, and this negatively influenced their everyday memory performance. The recruitment of minority elders into cognitive aging studies will continue to challenge researchers.