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A naturalistic study of prospective memory function in MCI and dementia

Authors

  • Claire L. Thompson,

    Corresponding author
    1. School of Psychology, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
    2. Dementia Collaborative Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
    3. School of Psychiatry, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
    4. Academic Department for Old Age Psychiatry, Prince of Wales Hospital, Sydney, Australia
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  • Julie D. Henry,

    1. School of Psychology, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
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  • Adrienne Withall,

    1. Dementia Collaborative Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
    2. School of Psychiatry, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
    3. Academic Department for Old Age Psychiatry, Prince of Wales Hospital, Sydney, Australia
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  • Peter G. Rendell,

    1. School of Psychology, Australian Catholic University, Melbourne, Australia
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  • Henry Brodaty

    1. Dementia Collaborative Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
    2. School of Psychiatry, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
    3. Academic Department for Old Age Psychiatry, Prince of Wales Hospital, Sydney, Australia
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Claire L. Thompson, School of Psychology, University of New South Wales, Sydney, 2052, Australia (e-mail: cthompson@psy.unsw.edu.au).

Abstract

Objective. Naturalistic measures of prospective memory (PM) show less age-related decline than laboratory measures. We investigated whether a naturalistic measure of PM differentiates between normal ageing, mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and dementia.

Method. Ninety-eight older adults agreed to perform a time-based PM task in their everyday lives.

Results. Despite a self-selection bias in task acceptance, dementia participants performed more poorly relative to both the MCI and control group. Performance on the naturalistic PM task showed good convergent validity with both a cognitive screening measure and a laboratory PM assessment.

Conclusions. PM difficulties are experienced in the everyday lives of people with dementia and are related to laboratory-based assessments but do not appear to be evident on a naturalistic task for those with MCI.

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