Subjective cognitive complaints increase with age. Although subjective cognitive difficulties have been linked to cognitive impairment and psychological distress, some studies have failed to establish a link between subjective cognitive complaints and present or future cognitive impairment. The present study examined the interactive, longitudinal effects of age, psychological distress, and objective cognitive performance on subjective cognitive function. Older adults (N = 147, Mage = 74.17) were assessed biannually for up to 6 years. Subjective cognitive function, psychological distress, and neuropsychological testing were obtained at each assessment. In multilevel models with single predictors, age, poorer average task-switching, and poorer memory predicted worse subjective cognitive functioning. Both average levels and within-person deviations in distress predicted worse subjective cognitive function. There were two significant interactions: one between average distress and chronological age, and the other between average memory and within-person distress. Task switching performance and distress had an additive effect on subjective cognitive function. Both individual differences (i.e., between-person differences) and fluctuations over time (i.e., within-person changes) contributed to worse subjective cognitive function. Psychological distress may help explain the relationship between objective cognitive performance and subjective cognitive function and should be assessed when patient concerns about cognitive functioning arise.
|Number of pages||12|
|Journal||Psychology and Neuroscience|
|State||Published - Jun 2019|
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported by grants from the National Institute of Aging (F31-AG048697 to Paul J.
This research was supported by grants from the National Institute of Aging (F31-AG048697 to Paul J. Geiger; K99-AG056635 to Rebecca G. Reed; R01-AG026307 and K02-AG033629 to Suzanne C. Segerstrom) and National Institute of Mental Health (T32-MH093315 to Paul J. Geiger).
© 2019 American Psychological Association.
- psychological distress
- subjective cognitive functioning
- task-switching efficiency
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Neuroscience (all)
- Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology