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Memory for medication side effects in younger and older adults: the role of subjective and objective importance

Friedman, M. C., McGillivray, S., Murayama, K. and Castel, A. D. (2015) Memory for medication side effects in younger and older adults: the role of subjective and objective importance. Memory & Cognition, 43 (2). pp. 206-215. ISSN 1532-5946

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To link to this item DOI: 10.3758/s13421-014-0476-0

Abstract/Summary

Older adults often experience memory impairments, but can sometimes use selective processing and schematic support to remember important information. The current experiments investigate to what degree younger and healthy older adults remember medication side effects that were subjectively or objectively important to remember. Participants studied a list of common side effects, and rated how negative these effects were if they were to experience them, and were then given a free recall test. In Experiment 1, the severity of the side effects ranged from mild (e.g., itching) to severe (e.g., stroke), and in Experiment 2, certain side effects were indicated as critical to remember (i.e., “contact your doctor if you experience this”). There were no age differences in terms of free recall of the side effects, and older adults remembered more severe side effects relative to mild effects. However, older adults were less likely to recognize critical side effects on a later recognition test, relative to younger adults. The findings suggest that older adults can selectively remember medication side effects, but have difficulty identifying familiar but potentially critical side effects, and this has implications for monitoring medication use in older age.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Ageing
Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Department of Psychology
Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Language and Cognition
Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Nutrition and Health
ID Code:38343
Publisher:Springer

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