Purpose. When people suffer from memory distrust, they evaluate their memory in negative terms. Memory distrust plays an important role in police interrogations because it may underlie false confessions. The Squire Subjective Memory Questionnaire (SSMQ) intends to be a simple measure of trait memory distrust. To our knowledge, no data have been published about the psychometric properties of the SSMQ.

Methods. Relying on five samples (Ns = 70–819) of healthy individuals and patients, we studied the psychometric characteristics of the SSMQ. Participants were recruited at the university, a neuropsychological unit or through advertisements in newspapers. They were asked to complete the SSMQ and several other tests. In this way, reliability and validity parameters could be assessed.

Results. Principle component analysis showed that the SSMQ has a one-dimensional structure referring to subjective memory evaluation. The SSMQ was found to have adequate reliability and good construct validity. Furthermore, it appears to correlate in a theoretically meaningful way with age and cognitive failures.

Conclusions. All together, the SSMQ is a psychometrically sound screening tool that can be helpful in assessing subjective memory evaluations in the legal domain. In this way, vulnerable suspects can be identified in an early stage.