Prevalence and covariates of subjective forgetfulness in a normal population in the Netherlands

Rudolf W. H. M. Ponds, Kees J. A. M. Commissaris, Jellemer Jolles

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An this study we examined the prevalence and covariates of forgetfulness in a large sample of almost 2.000 subjects in the age range twenty-four to eighty-six years. Nearly 40 percent of the participants considered themselves to be forgetful. There was a systematic increase in the prevalence of forgetfulness with age, from 29 percent in the young age group to 52 percent in the oldest age group. Forgetfulness was not considered to be a serious problem in terms of perceived hindrance and worry by most subjects, independent of their age. Age, depression, and subjective health (especially complaints about vitality) acted as covariates of forgetfulness. Gender and education had no effect on the prevalence of forgetfulness. The younger adults ascribed their forgetfulness more to potentially reversible and manageable memory-extrinsic causes such as tension and emotional problems, whereas the older adults mentioned less manageable and more or less irreversible memory-intrinsic causes such as aging more often.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)207-221
JournalInternational journal of aging & human development
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes

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