Prospective Memory: A Theoretical Evaluation and the Development of a Standardised Questionnaire

Research output: Other contribution to conferenceAbstract


Prospective memory (PM) is remembering to perform an action in the future. PM failures in older adults can have serious consequences (e.g. forgetting to take medication) and thus may threaten independent living. PM impairments have been noted in several clinical populations particularly in those with dementia. Studies examining PM and normal ageing have revealed mixed findings. Older adults generally perform poorly on laboratory measures of PM when compared to younger adults. However, in naturalistic settings older adults have demonstrated superior PM. This pattern of findings is termed "the age paradox of prospective memory". PM performance is mediated by several task characteristics. These include the type of retrieval cue (event versus time based), the number and salience of retrieval cues, and the use of memory aids. This paper reports on progress in developing a standardised PM questionnaire that can be used to screen for PM impairments, as well as examining theoretical issues in how PM is assessed, reasons for the age paradox and which characteristics mediate PM performance. Item development will be described, and the results of a study involving administration of the questionnaire to samples drawn from the general population, people with dementia and acquired brain injuries. Data was analysed using Rasch, Principal Components, Reliability and Discriminant analysis methods leading to the development of a 42‐item questionnaire. A final study is currently underway to obtain norms for this questionnaire and to collect related measures to enable a theoretical analysis. Preliminary findings will be discussed. It is anticipated that this questionnaire will be used to detect PM impairments and potentially identify early signs of dementia. This in turn will assist clinicians in implementing memory interventions which will optimise the quality of life for older adults. The theoretical analysis will add to the knowledgebase in the emerging field of PM.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Event12th National Conference of Emerging Researchers in Ageing: Enabling active ageing - SMC Function Centre, Sydney, Australia
Duration: 25 Nov 201326 Nov 2013


Conference12th National Conference of Emerging Researchers in Ageing
Internet address


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