Examination of the relationship between anxiety and memory functioning in older adults.
AuthorMartino, Gregory Michael.
Committee ChairKaszniak, Alfred W.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThe present study attempts to test the hypothesis that anxiety, reflected in physiological and psychological measures, is related to impairment in memory systems which hypothetically involve the hippocampus in older adults. A single 24-hour collection of cortisol was obtained from a group of 159 healthy elderly subjects. Immediately after the collection, a test battery of various types of verbal memory and anxiety was administered. Multiple regression analyses revealed that the experience of anxiety as measured by the instruments in this study does not significantly affect performance on a measure of long-term memory (LTM). Age itself accounted for most of the variation in LTM scores, followed by gender and education, respectively. However, the effect of anxiety as measured by a composite of paper-and-pencil instruments on LTM scores was apparent in an aged subgroup of older adults. In neither sample was the 24-hour measure of cortisol found to be a significant predictor of LTM scores. It is suggested that multiple cortisol collections be obtained for a more accurate indicator of adrenocortical activity and that more sensitive measures of memory and anxiety be used in the assessment of a healthy older adults.