Memory knowledge and beliefs among Taiwanese older adults
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Decline of memory is often a complaint registered by members of an older adult population. There has been a limited amount of previous research evaluating subjective and objective memory in elderly Asian cultures. The purpose of this study was to explore factors related to memory function among Taiwanese older adults which included the following: the individual’s characteristics, perception of metamemory, degree of memory self-efficacy, and level of memory performance. This was a cross-sectional, descriptive, and correlational study. A proposed conceptual framework, based on the previous literature, was developed as the guideline for the study. Well established instruments were employed in measuring participants’ memory knowledge and attitudes, namely metamemory, (Metamemory in Adulthood), memory self-efficacy (Memory Efficacy), and memory performance (Rivermead Behavioural Memory Test). A non-probability sample of 130 Taiwanese older adults completed the interview. The research findings indicated that the participants reported above average knowledge of memory processes, achievement motivation regarding memory, a good memory capacity, personal control over their memory, and an ability to use memory strategies. In contrast, they perceived their memory as declining over time and were slightly anxious when considering memory tasks. In addition, they displayed a moderate level of confidence about their own memory, with elderly males expressing more confidence than females about their memory abilities. The memory performance of older Taiwanese adults was in the range of poor memory on the Rivermead. Factors contributing to memory function were correlated with each other. As stated above, these were individual characteristics, metamemory and memory self-efficacy. Significant predictors for memory performance were age, education, health status and memory selfefficacy. The results of this study suggested that culture-specific factors regarding memory are vital for older Taiwanese adults to evaluate their own memory. Potential topics for future research include: exploring the meaning of memory with an in-depth interview to distinguish memory self-efficacy from positive adaptation to memory deficit; understanding how memory operates while participants work in pairs rather than individually; and implementing an interventional program for health and cognitive promotion.