Subjective memory complaints in the elderly: Depressive symptoms and future dementia

Ben Schmand*, Cees Jonker, Mirjam I. Geerlings, Jaap Lindeboom

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

156 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Population studies indicate that subjective memory complaints by elderly people are correlated with cognitive performance. These complaints have some predictive power regarding the development of dementia. The present study attempted to replicate this finding, and investigated which variables determine subjective memory complaints. Method: Participants in the Amsterdam Study of the Elderly (n=2114; 65-84 years of age), who were not demented and had a normal MMSE score (> 23) at baseline, were re-examined after four years. Subjective complaints were measured using a previously developed scale. Dementia and depression were measured using the Geriatric Mental State Schedule (GMS). Premorbid intelligence was measured by the Dutch Adult Reading Test (DART). Results: Memory complaints at baseline contributed a small but significant amount of diagnostic information with respect to the prediction of future dementia. Depressive symptoms at baseline had no predictive value when these memory complaints were accounted Ion Subjective memory complaints were associated with depression, baseline MMSE score, and premorbid intelligence. Conclusions: Subjective memory complaints are not just secondary to depression, but in part reflect realistic self-observations of cognitive decline.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)373-376
Number of pages4
JournalBritish Journal of Psychiatry
Issue numberOCT.
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 1997


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