Improving memory in midlife : a multiple case study evaluation of a group-based memory programme for healthy middle-aged individuals : a dissertation presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the degree of Doctor of Clinical Psychology at Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand
The research presented in this thesis evaluates a memory programme (N = 5) that was specifically designed for middle-aged individuals. A preliminary online survey (N = 409) examined the theory of Selective Optimisation with Compensation (SOC) in the context of everyday memory. The survey informed some aspects of the memory programme by examining the relationships between cognitive failures, memory compensation efforts, and control beliefs. Results indicated that SOC endorsement accounted for a significant reduction in everyday cognitive failures (i.e., forgetfulness, distractibility, and false triggering) and a higher sense of memory control. The beneficial effects of memory control beliefs were partially mediated by SOC endorsement. Counter to expectations, SOC endorsement did not affect the forgetfulness/memory compensation relationship. The Midlife Memory Programme, containing four treatment components (i.e., goal pursuit, memory and ageing education, strategy training, and group discussions), was evaluated by a before/after design with a three month follow-up. The data showed improvements in objective and subjective memory performance and worries about memory performance decrements diminished. While the findings were encouraging, a larger scale study is needed to establish the efficacy of the programme.