The prospective memory concerns questionnaire: An investigation of self-reported prospective memory and its relation to clinical disorders, ageing, naturalistic prospective memory, personality, and social desirability

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Prospective Memory (PM) involves remembering to carry out an action at a future point in time (McDaniel & Einstein, 2007). Lapses of PM are frequently reported and can have serious negative consequences. This research aimed to develop a brief, self-report measure of PM concerns. This research aimed to investigate self-reported PM and its relation to normal ageing, brain injury, mild cognitive impairment, and dementia. The relationship between selfreported PM and naturalistic PM tasks, and the influences of personality and social desirability traits on self-reported PM were also assessed. A novel approach of combining classical test theory and Rasch methodologies was used for scale development and validation in the three research studies. Therefore, an additional aim was to assess whether this approach resulted in a scale that was similar in structure and content to existing PM scales. In Study 1, 135 scale items were developed. These items were reviewed by individuals who had experience with people with PM impairments, in terms of their relevance and readability. Item analyses in Study 2 assessed the structure, reliability, and validity of the scale; items with poor psychometric properties were subsequently eliminated. In Study 3, participants completed the final version of the questionnaire, the Prospective and Retrospective Memory Questionnaire, the SDS-17, the Australian Personality Inventory, the Addenbrookes Cognitive Exam-Revised as well as event-based, time-based, and 24-hour naturalistic PM tasks. This research resulted in the development of the Prospective Memory Concerns Questionnaire (PMCQ), which contains 42 items and subscales measuring Forgetting Behaviours, Memory Concerns, and Retrieval Cues. The PMCQ has good reliability and validity; normative data for healthy adults aged 18-89 years as well as brain injury and mild cognitive impairment/dementia reference groups were provided. The PMCQ differed from existing PM scales in structure and content. The PMCQ measures a variety of PM dimensions and is intended for use in research and clinical settings in conjunction with other psychological tests. Clinical individuals (with brain injury, mild cognitive impairment, and dementia) had higher scores (i.e. concerns) than healthy adults on the PMCQ, Forgetting Behaviours, and Memory Concerns scales. They also performed worse than healthy adults on the naturalistic tasks. Age differences were detected with older adults performing better on the naturalistic tasks and reporting fewer concerns than younger adults on the PMCQ and Retrieval Cues scales. These age differences may be attributed to age differences in experience with memory tasks, environmental demands, perceived task importance, or memory strategies used. The PMCQ and naturalistic tasks were unrelated, which raises the question of whether these tasks measure different aspects of PM. Naturalistic PM was not related to personality or social desirability, although PMCQ scores were associated with neuroticism, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and social desirability. The relationship between the PMCQ and personality may explain the lack of correlation between self-report and naturalistic PM measures. While some variance in self-report PM measures can be attributed to personality variables, the PMCQ was a unique measure of PM concerns as scores predicted memory concerns after controlling for personality and social desirability.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Charles Sturt University
  • Kiernan, Michael, Principal Supervisor
  • Thomas, Matthew, Co-Supervisor
Award date16 Nov 2016
Place of PublicationAustralia
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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