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Self-Efficacy and Memory Aging

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0021584/00001

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Title: Self-Efficacy and Memory Aging
Physical Description: 1 online resource (65 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Bensadon, Benjamin A
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2007

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: Psychology -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Psychology thesis, M.S.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: If you believe it, you can achieve it. This popular phrase of personal empowerment has often been utilized in Hollywood and athletics as a performance enhancing motivator. But is it really true? While its optimism and simplicity may make it appealing, from a scientific perspective, surely there are other, more relevant and superior determinants of peak performance. Or are there? Despite constituting a major area of empirical interest (and productivity) for psychologists studying cognitive aging, identifying the strongest predictors of memory performance has proven elusive. Achieving this, however, would be extremely valuable. From a theoretical perspective, understanding precisely which mechanisms most powerfully influence memory performance will enhance our ability to distinguish normative from pathological cognitive aging. From an applied perspective, this knowledge will guide and enhance future interventions with individuals worried about their current memory performance; consistently a central concern of the aged. Two variables receiving considerable attention in the older adult memory performance literature, and the focus of this paper, are self-efficacy and depression. Specifically, I will explore the interrelationships of general and domain-specific self-efficacy, memory performance and depression in aging.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Benjamin A Bensadon.
Thesis: Thesis (M.S.)--University of Florida, 2007.
Local: Adviser: Rice, Kenneth G.
Local: Co-adviser: West, Robin L.

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Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2007
System ID: UFE0021584:00001

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0021584/00001

Material Information

Title: Self-Efficacy and Memory Aging
Physical Description: 1 online resource (65 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Bensadon, Benjamin A
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2007

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: Psychology -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Psychology thesis, M.S.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: If you believe it, you can achieve it. This popular phrase of personal empowerment has often been utilized in Hollywood and athletics as a performance enhancing motivator. But is it really true? While its optimism and simplicity may make it appealing, from a scientific perspective, surely there are other, more relevant and superior determinants of peak performance. Or are there? Despite constituting a major area of empirical interest (and productivity) for psychologists studying cognitive aging, identifying the strongest predictors of memory performance has proven elusive. Achieving this, however, would be extremely valuable. From a theoretical perspective, understanding precisely which mechanisms most powerfully influence memory performance will enhance our ability to distinguish normative from pathological cognitive aging. From an applied perspective, this knowledge will guide and enhance future interventions with individuals worried about their current memory performance; consistently a central concern of the aged. Two variables receiving considerable attention in the older adult memory performance literature, and the focus of this paper, are self-efficacy and depression. Specifically, I will explore the interrelationships of general and domain-specific self-efficacy, memory performance and depression in aging.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Benjamin A Bensadon.
Thesis: Thesis (M.S.)--University of Florida, 2007.
Local: Adviser: Rice, Kenneth G.
Local: Co-adviser: West, Robin L.

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2007
System ID: UFE0021584:00001


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SELF-EFFICACY AND MEMORY AGING:


By

BENJAMIN A. BENSADON



















A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
MASTER OF SCIENCE

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA

2007






























2007 Benjamin A. Bensadon









ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I thank the members of my supervisory committee, Dr. Kenneth G. Rice and Dr. Bonnie

Moradi, for their constructive feedback and helpful input, and my research Chair, Dr. Robin L.

West, whose support, mentorship, advice, and of course, data, have played an integral role in

enabling me to complete this study.









TABLE OF CONTENTS

page

A C K N O W L E D G M E N T S ...............................................................................................................3

LIST O F TA B LE S ......... ..... .............. ................................................................. 6

LIST O F FIG U RE S ................................................................. 7

ABSTRAC T ..........................................................................................

CHAPTER

1 IN TR OD U CTION ............................................................................................

Self-E ffi cacy: A going and M em ory ................................................................................... 13
D expression and M em ory .................. ................................................. .............. 21
Self-Efficacy M easurem ent Issues ...................................................................................25
C current Study ....................................................................... ...................................28
H ypotheses....................... .................................................................29

2 M A TER IA L S A N D M ETH O D S ........................................ ............................................31

M em ory Self-E efficacy .............................................................. .. .............. .. 3 1
General Self-Efficacy ................................. ...... ... ................... 32
M em ory Perform ance ................................................................. .. .... ......... .. 32
S h o p p in g list ....................................................................................................................3 2
N a m e s ................... ...................3...................2..........
D ep re ssio n .............. .... ...............................................................3 3
O th e r M e a su re s ................................................................................................................. 3 3

3 R E SU L T S .............. ... ................................................................ 35

O v erv iew ................... ...................3...................5..........
H y p o th e sis I .....................................................................................................................3 5
H y p oth esis II ................................................................3 6
H y p o th e sis III ....................................................................................................3 7
E exploratory A naly ses ...............................................................38
D iscu ssio n ......... ........... .................................... ..................................3 9
Self-Efficacy ......... ...... ............... ....................... ............... 40
A g e ...........................................................................4 2
D expression .......... .... ..... ...................................................................... 45
Memory Performance ...................................................................... .... ......... ................... 46
L im stations .......... ..... .... ......... ............................................48
C lin ic al Im p lic atio n s ......................................................................................................... 5 0
T h eo retical Im p licatio n s .........................................................................................................52
F utu re R research ................................................................53


4









4 SUM M ARY AND CONCLUSIONS.......................................................... ............... 55

L IST O F R E F E R E N C E S ...................................................................................... ....................56

B IO G R A PH IC A L SK E T C H ............................................................................... .....................65









LIST OF TABLES


Table page

2 -1. S am ple C h aracteristics .............................................................................. ......................34

3-1. Correlations Between Predictor and Memory Performance Variables ..............................39









LIST OF FIGURES

Figure peDe

1-1. Reciprocal Determinism (Bandura, 1986; Pajares, 1996)......................................................10









Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science

SELF-EFFICACY AND MEMORY AGING

By

Benjamin A. Bensadon

December 2007

Chair: Robin L. West
Cochair: Kenneth G. Rice
Major: Psychology

Ifyou believe it, you can achieve it. This popular phrase of personal empowerment has

often been utilized in Hollywood and athletics as a performance enhancing motivator. But is it

really true? While its optimism and simplicity may make it appealing, from a scientific

perspective, surely there are other, more relevant and superior determinants of peak performance.

Or are there? Despite constituting a major area of empirical interest (and productivity) for

psychologists studying cognitive aging, identifying the strongest predictors of memory

performance has proven elusive. Achieving this, however, would be extremely valuable. From a

theoretical perspective, understanding precisely which mechanisms most powerfully influence

memory performance will enhance our ability to distinguish normative from pathological

cognitive aging. From an applied perspective, this knowledge will guide and enhance future

interventions with individuals worried about their current memory performance; consistently a

central concern of the aged. Two variables receiving considerable attention in the older adult

memory performance literature, and the focus of this paper, are self-efficacy and depression.

Specifically, I will explore the interrelationships of general and domain-specific self-efficacy,

memory performance and depression in aging.









CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION

Bandura (1997) describes his Social Cognitive Theory as a "multifaceted, causal structure

that addresses both the development of competence and the regulation of action" (p.34). A

primary component of this theory is perceived self-efficacy, which refers to "beliefs in one's

capabilities to organize and execute the courses of action required to produce given attainments"

(Bandura, 1997, p.3). Implicit in this definition is the notion that people are active, agentic

contributors, rather than solely determiners or recipients of what actually happens to them.

People are simultaneously agents and objects, at once acting on the environment and reflecting

and acting on themselves. Self-efficacy is one's sense of competence and confidence for a given

task in a given domain. It is neither a global self-evaluation nor a static, fixed entity. "It is

dynamic and malleable, subject to changes in task demands, situational determinants, social

context, and individual development." (Berry & West, 1993, p.353)

There are four primary sources of self-efficacy. Enactive mastery experiences, which

serve as indicators of capability; vicarious experience, which alters efficacy beliefs via

transmission of competence and comparison with attainments of others; verbal persuasion and

social influences that communicate to the individual that he or she has certain capabilities; and

physiological and affective states, from which individuals judge their own capability, strength,

and vulnerability to dysfunction (Bandura, 1993). Any given influence may operate at any time

via one or more of these sources. Of these multiple sources, perceived self-efficacy is most

readily strengthened through direct, mastery experiences, termed enactive mastery, where people

actively master particular behavioral domains, rather than observing others' successes

vicariously.









Bandura describes four behavioral steps that humans engage in during their daily

transactions: analyze a situation, consider alternate courses of action, judge one's ability to carry

out this action successfully (self-efficacy), and finally, estimate the results such actions are likely

to produce. Based on judgments derived from these estimates, people act and later reflect on how

well their thoughts served them in managing the given event, then make changes to their thinking

accordingly. In this way, individuals' level of motivation, affective states, and actions are based

more on what they believe than on what is objectively true, with self-efficacy beliefs playing the

central role in the link between beliefs and behavior.

Fundamental to self-efficacy theory is the notion of Triadic Reciprocal Causation (see

figure 1). The person (P), environment (E), and behavior (B) each interact and affect each other

bidirectionally.


BEHAVIOR


RECIPROCAL
DETERMINISM




PERSONAL ENVIRONMENT
FACTORS
Figure 1-1. Reciprocal Determinism (Bandura, 1986; Pajares, 1996)




Each set of determinants has varying amounts of influence depending on the activity and

circumstances. Furthermore, causal factors take different amounts of time in exerting their

influence. Berry & West (1993) have called this a feedback loop, to describe the circularity of

motion through which past performances influence future judgments of self-efficacy that, in turn,









influence future performance. Performance and its appraisal feed into subsequent judgments of

self-efficacy. Cervone, Jiwani, & Wood (1991) have further substantiated this model, showing

the unique and independent contribution of self-efficacy to performance, even after controlling

for prior performance accomplishments and ability.

Positive performance associated with higher self-efficacy suggests the opposite is also

true, that is, poor self-efficacy impedes or has a negative impact on performance (Welch & West,

1995; Artistico, Cervone, & Pezzuti, 2003; Pajares, 1996). Diminished efficacy beliefs can often

lead to performance debilitation (Bandura, 2001; Rejeski, Miller, Foy, Messier, & Rapp, 2001;

Zeldin & Pajares, 2000). Those who doubt their capabilities in particular domains of activity shy

away from difficult tasks in those domains, thus limiting their future opportunities for mastery.

This can lead to feelings of stress and depression. "People who possess attributes that are

socially disparaged, and who accept the stereotyped negative evaluation of others will hold

themselves in low regard irrespective of their talents" (Bandura, 1997, p. 13). For example, older

adults may "buy in" to the notion that any instance of forgetting may be a sign that they are, in

fact, "going senile," even if their memory ability is objectively unimpaired. Conversely, those

who have strong beliefs in their capabilities view difficult tasks as challenging opportunities for

mastery, as opposed to threats to avoid. According to Bandura (1997), an "efficacious outlook

enhances performance accomplishments, reduces stress, and lowers vulnerability to depression"

(p.39).

While specific skills may facilitate performance, they are not the primary concern of self-

efficacy. Rather, what is essential is what you believe you can do with "what you have" under a

variety of circumstances. Self-efficacy and competence, though related, are independent from

one another. According to Bandura's model, human competence manifests itself diversely rather









than uniformly across various activity domains. "People develop different patterns of

competence and deploy them selectively depending on the match of specific efficacy beliefs to

environmental demands and anticipated outcomes" (Bandura, 1997, p. 15). What if competence

is objectively lacking? Evidence suggests that building self-efficacy is more important than

building particular skills (Asante, Brintnell, & Gross, 2007). This is not to suggest that

compensating for lacking skills is an easy task. Rather, self-efficacious individuals are able to

display consistent effort, even when confronting obstacles and impediments to peak

performance. Higher self-efficacy translates into the capacity and willingness to put forth and

sustain such effort. Through this self-regulatory function, self-efficacy plays a stronger role in

achieving performance attainments than does inherent capacity (Bandura, 1986).

Self-efficacy is commonly misconceived as interchangeable with similar concepts such as

self-concept and self-esteem. Self-concept is more global and differs from self-efficacy in that it

does not consider domain differences, different levels of task difficulty within one particular

domain, or different situational or contextual circumstances, any of which may affect self-

efficacy judgments. Similarly, self-esteem refers to more global judgments of self-l ,/ I/l,

whereas self-efficacy pertains to personal capability. It is quite possible for individuals to judge

themselves inefficacious in a particular domain without suffering any corresponding loss of self-

esteem if they do not invest their self-worth in that domain (Bandura, 1986, 1997). For example,

the self-esteem or self-concept of individuals deficient in reading or arithmetic skills will not

necessarily be adversely affected if these individuals measure their worth by other areas, such as

their singing or athletic ability. As long as they are satisfied with these two areas

(singing/athletics), such individuals may overlook or be unaffected by difficulties elsewhere

(reading/arithmetic).









Conversely, for people concerned with their reading and arithmetic skills, and aware that

they cannot hold a key nor catch a football, the opposite could hold true. Singing and athletic

ability will not matter, so long as they are content with their reading and arithmetic. Consistent

with these examples, perceived self-efficacy accurately predicts the personal goals individuals

set for themselves and their corresponding performance attainments. Self-esteem, on the other

hand, does not affect personal goals or performance (Mone, Baker, & Jeffries, 1995). Suffice it

to say "there is neither conceptual nor empirical justification for construing self-worth globally,

nor is self-esteem the generalized embodiment of specific efficacy beliefs" (Bandura, 1997,

p.12).

Self-Efficacy: Aging and Memory

One segment of the population for which self-efficacy may be particularly relevant is

older adults. As people age, they often witness, first hand, changes that can affect them both

physically and psychologically. Increased longevity can bring with it many benefits and

challenges. However, youth-oriented societies, such as the United States, continuously

communicate anti-aging messages regarding "inevitable" age-related losses, while minimizing or

completely ignoring the concomitant gains. Does the perpetual reinforcement of ageist

stereotypes affect older adults' self-efficacy? According to Bandura and others, the answer is

yes. As the following illustration demonstrates, these social messages may be internalized by

older adults (e.g., Rahhal, Hasher, & Colcombe, 2001).

Let us consider a common example. An elderly woman meets someone she knows at a

social event and is unable to recall that person's name. Aside from being embarrassed, she may

become exceedingly discouraged and unsure of herself, concerned that she is "losing it."

Attributing this memory lapse to an overall deficit in memory capability, rather than an isolated

instance of forgetfulness, the older adult may suffer a reduction in self-efficacy, which, in turn,









may decrease the likelihood of attending such events in the future, due to fear of similar

embarrassment. Scenarios such as these, "in which individuals happen to perform poorly, can, in

themselves, come to activate a sense of incompetence that impairs future performance in those

particular contexts" (Bandura, 1997, p. 18). Though subtle, it is important to acknowledge that

while successful mastery experiences can lead to positive performance and increased confidence,

failure can similarly contribute to negative performance and decreased confidence.

Because of the expectation (among both young and older adults) that memory declines in

late life, older adults may explain each lapse of memory as further evidence of age-related

cognitive decline while younger individuals free of such expectations can and do attribute the

same lapses to other phenomena unrelated to decline, such as low interest, stress, or distraction.

Gerontologists have referred to this as the "age-based double standard," and have noted its

influence on memory in particular (Zarit et al., 1981; Erber, 1999; Erber et al., 1996; Erber et al.,

1992; Erber & Rothberg, 1991; Erber et al., 1990). Therefore, it seems feasible that memory

self-efficacy (MSE) could plummet in older adults who blame aging for all their memory lapses.

Does MSE vary by age? In their comprehensive review of the literature, Berry & West

(1993) found strong converging evidence for a poorer sense of MSE in older adults relative to

young adults. This has been observed across several different types of measures including MSE

factor scores derived from the Metamemory in Adulthood questionnaire (Cavanaugh & Poon,

1989; Hertzog, Dixon, & Hultsch, 1990; Hultsch, Hertzog, Dixon, & Davidson, 1988), single

item self-efficacy predictions for memory tasks (Hertzog et al., 1990; Rebok & Balcerak, 1989),

and multilevel, task-specific measures of MSE strength & level (Berry et al., 1989; West et al.,

2002; West & Yassuda, 2004; West et al., 2005).









In a set of analyses examining the convergence of two metamemory questionnaires, the

Metamemory in Adulthood questionnaire (MIA) and the Memory Functioning Questionnaire

(MFQ), Hertzog, Hultsch, & Dixon (1989) employed confirmatory factor analysis to identify a

distinct Memory Self-Efficacy (MSE) factor. The authors administered both questionnaires to

two samples, each of which was broken down further into younger and older subsamples. The

seven subscales from the Metamemory in Adulthood (MIA) instrument (Dixon & Hultsch, 1983,

1984) contained 108 items, in a 5-point Likert response format. Hertzog et al. (1987) previously

reported that the MIA scales of Capacity, Change, Anxiety, and Locus all loaded on a dimension

interpreted as Memory Self-Efficacy. The Memory Functioning Questionnaire (MFQ),

developed by Gilewski et al. (1983; see Gilewski & Zelinski, 1986) contained 64 items, in a 7-

point Likert format, tapping multiple dimensions of metamemory, with a primary focus on

memory problems and frequency of forgetting in specific domains (e.g., forgetting

appointments). The authors posited that when individuals self-report incidents of forgetting, they

do not simply perform an exhaustive retrieval search of memory for forgetting episodes, rather,

they first access beliefs about their memory self-efficacy and then convert these beliefs into a

frequency estimate. Based on this logic, they hypothesized that the MFQ also contains scales

that might be included within the self-efficacy category, primarily those related to the frequency

of forgetting dimension. "Incidents of forgetting are undoubtedly a source of information that

individuals use to create and update memory self-efficacy beliefs...the actual frequency of

forgetting is likely to be a proximal determinant of memory self-efficacy. (Hertzog, Hultsch, &

Dixon, 1989). Most relevant among the authors' findings was that age was a significant

predictor of MSE. "As individuals grow older and perceive more change in memory...they are









also more likely to report lower MSE, resulting in an increased correlation between these

factors." (Hertzog et al., 1989, p. 699).

More recently, West & Yassuda (2004) examined the interplay of goal setting, sense of

memory control, memory performance, and memory beliefs. Their guiding principle was the

higher probability that those with high MSE and internal control beliefs, more often than not,

younger adults, would perform well without external encouragement from goals, whereas older

adults, typically lower in MSE and memory control beliefs, are more easily discouraged and less

likely to perform well without goals to motivate them. The study sample was comprised of older

adult community dwellers and students. Memory beliefs, control beliefs, and MSE were

assessed, and participants completed a shopping list recall. As in the earlier study mentioned

above, younger adults had significantly higher MSE than the older adults. They also showed

significantly better memory performance.

Perhaps the most consistent evidence of the MSE-memory performance correlation

among older adults has been found by West and her colleagues (West, Thorn, & Bagwell, 2003;

West & Yassuda, 2004; West, Dennehy-Basile, & Norris, 1996; West, Bagwell, & Dark-

Freudeman, 2005), who have examined it in relation to goal setting. West, Thorn and Bagwell

(2003) had college students and older adults complete the MSEQ and then perform a shopping

list recall for several trials, with or without a goal and feedback on performance. After the last

trial, participants completed the MSEQ again. The authors found that MSE was significantly

lower among the older adults. In a regression with final trial MSE as the dependent variable and

age, education, health, goal condition, and percentage correct as the independent variables, only

age and percentage correct were significant predictors of MSE. After substituting gain scores

(improvement across trials) for percentage correct, age was the strongest significant predictor of









MSE. In a second study to partially replicate and extend these findings, the authors administered

the MSEQ after baseline but not before. Again, recall performance and MSE were significantly

higher among younger adults than older adults. As in the first study, the authors regressed MSE

on the same independent variables. In order, percentage correct, age, and goal condition were

significant predictors. After replacing percentage correct with gain scores, age, once again, was

the strongest predictor of final trial MSE.

In a study primarily concerned with the effects of different types of feedback, West,

Bagwell, and Dark-Freudeman (2005) compared the use of individualized goals and positive or

objective feedback to a control group having no goals and no feedback. A sample of college

students and community dwelling older adults completed a shopping list recall and items from

the MSEQ-4 (West et al., 2003). Participant memory beliefs, goal commitment, and shopping

list recall were measured as well. Again, the authors found younger adults scored significantly

higher on recall and MSE than did the older adults. In a multivariate analysis comparing beliefs

measured at baseline and after the goal manipulation, the effects of age were significant, with

older adults showing lower self-ratings than younger adults.

Is this lower MSE among older adults problematic? While mastery experiences increase

self-efficacy, age-related memory changes, social stereotypes, and mastery-reducing experiences

act to lower it. Theoretically, a reduction in self-efficacy will have negative behavioral

consequences, such as avoidance of learning opportunities and reduced memory effort (Welch &

West, 1995). Such behaviors tend to preclude successful cognitive performance in the future.

As cognitive errors increase, social stereotypes lead the elderly to automatically attribute these

failures to age, even though other factors could be responsible (e.g., lack of attention, lack of

effort). The personal experiences of older adults can sometimes fail to encourage mastery, and









may even induce further disability, especially in environments with higher percentages of

disabled older adults, e.g., nursing homes and hospitals (Welch & West, 1995). Thus, a vicious

cycle ensues as the individual's self-efficacy declines, so does their motivation to maintain

independence and self-sufficiency, leading ultimately to increased dependence on others. In

areas of skilled competence, such as memory, failure to actively utilize skills can theoretically

lead to loss of capability. I will now consider empirical evidence for this relationship between

MSE and memory performance.

The correlation between memory self-evaluation and memory performance has been

examined in several aging studies addressing these issues: Are self-perceptions of memory

ability accurate? Does their accuracy vary across age? Although a wide range of self-evaluative

measures have been utilized in this research, here I consider the extant research on self-efficacy

in particular, and the relationship between MSE and performance (consideration of more generic

self-evaluation assessments occurs in the section on depression and memory self evaluation).

In a mnemonic training study, Rebok and Balcerak (1989) allotted younger and older

adults to four different groups; training/feedback, training/no feedback, no training/feedback, and

no training/no feedback. The authors assessed self-efficacy with a single-item confidence

measure, patterned after Bandura and Adams (1977). Participants rated the strength of their

expectations to recall 12 words and 12 digits in their exact order on a 100-point probability scale,

ranging in 10-point intervals from 10 (not sure) to 100 (real sure). The highest number circled

on the scale was used as a measure of self-efficacy strength (SEST). They were also asked to

predict the number of words (out of 12) and digits (out of 12) they felt they would be able to

remember in exact order (self-efficacy level or SEL). Younger adults outperformed older adults









both pre- and post-training and both groups were inaccurate in predicting their respective

performance. Both SEST and SEL were higher among younger adults than older adults.

Berry et al. (1989) conducted three studies to demonstrate the validity and reliability of

their memory self-efficacy questionnaire (MSEQ). Though the authors' primary aim was to

show the psychometric strength of their measure, their findings directly pertain to the MSE-

performance relationship. The sample in the first study was comprised exclusively of older

adults, each of whom completed the MSEQ, and then performed eight memory tasks. Four of

the tasks were considered "laboratory" in nature; word recall, recall of directions for drawing a

path through a maze, digit recall, and recall of line drawings. The other four were considered

more familiar, "everyday" tasks; remembering a sick friend's grocery list, map directions to a

friend's house, telephone numbers, and object locations in a room. The second study examined a

sample of undergraduate students. The final study examined a sample of both young and older

adults, each of whom completed an alternate form of the MSEQ. Across studies, the authors

found a significant relationship between MSE and performance variables for the everyday tasks

more often than for the laboratory tasks. In a later study, this pattern of better prediction for

everyday tasks was repeated (West, Dennehy-Basile, & Norris, 1996).

Hertzog, Dixon, & Hultsch (1990) used structural regression models to address the nature

and degree of relationships between memory predictions and memory performance. Participants,

ranging in age from 20 79 years old, predicted their performance and then completed two

different memory tasks: free recall of words (nouns from multiple taxonomic categories) and free

recall of narrative texts. Before each memory task, participants in the memory prediction

condition were given a brief description of the task, and fictitious normative performance data,

after which they were asked to predict their own performance. They completed this prediction-









performance sequence three separate times. Though many measures were administered,

including most subscales from the MIA (Dixon & Hultsch,1983, 1984), the two specifically

intended to tap participant MSE were the MIA-Capacity scale, and the Frequency of Forgetting

scale from the MFQ (Gilewski et al., 1983; see Gilewski & Zelinski, 1986). As expected, older

participants showed significantly lower recall than did younger participants. MIA Capacity and

MFQ Frequency of Forgetting scales, both of which have been shown to relate primarily to MSE

(Hertzog et al., 1989), and MIA Change, correlated significantly with word and text recall

predictions. However, additional MIA and other scales were not significantly correlated with

performance predictions. Age and memory performance had no direct influence on word recall

prediction when controlling for MSE. The authors' interpretation was that age differences in

predictions may be mediated by age differences in MSE.

What can be concluded from these findings? It appears that adults, young and old, are

often inaccurate when assessing their own memory performance ability. In fact, in an objective

consideration of the literature, one would have to conclude that the results are mixed, at best,

regarding the MSE-performance relationship. What accounts for this? One possibility may

involve methodology. Common to these studies has been the tendency to combine participants,

irrespective of their age, when analyzing the data. If memory performance has different meaning

and importance for different age groups, this approach may be problematic. Though it is

difficult to find longitudinal studies providing empirical proof, some have suggested that

memory becomes more personally relevant as adults age (Lowenthal et al., 1967; Kahn, 1975).

Studies by Dixon and Hultsch (1983) and Cavanaugh et al. (1983), have found that older adults

say that memory is important to them, rate themselves as having an adequate memory, but still

report more instances of memory failure than do younger adults. Memory seems to be









disproportionately salient for older adults. This greater salience is further supported by Poon

(1985) who found that 80% of older adults' cognitive complaints are memory-related. It may be

that inflated concerns about memory performance among older adults make it a domain of

function where beliefs hold more sway (Seeman et al., 1996).

Why is this greater salience relevant? Logically, increased salience tends to translate into

increased sensitivity and awareness. In addition to inhibiting memory performance (Rahhal,

Hasher, & Colcombe, 2001), such acute sensitivity to memory lapses may, in turn, result in

overestimates of the frequency with which forgetting occurs (O'hara et al., 1986; Sugar and

McDowd, 1992). Empirically, this could lead to distorted memory self-assessment and impaired

performance; and emotionally, it could lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy of continuous memory

decrement. The disproportionate salience of memory for older as opposed to younger adults

suggests that any inconsistent results mentioned earlier regarding the MSE-performance

association may be an artifact of grouping these two populations together. By not separating old

from young, potentially meaningful MSE-performance correlations for older adults may have

been obscured.

Depression and Memory

As shown above, competence and ability, especially in the domain of memory, become

increasingly sensitive issues for people as they age. It stands to reason that declines in these and

other areas, objective or perceived, can have sobering effects on an individual. Intuition aside,

what impact does lowered self-efficacy have on older adults' mood and affect? Do mood and

affect impact self-efficacy? Regardless of directionality, what role, if any, do these factors play

with regard to performance?

Of the different affective factors potentially associated with memory performance, past

research suggests that depression is the most relevant. Older adults are very familiar with









depression. As much as 15% of older adults may experience subclinical depression (Blazer,

2002) with a chronicity rate of 33% as compared to 10% in younger adults (Cole et al., 1999).

Older adults are also more likely than younger adults to experience relapses (Heinze, Villamil, &

Cortes, 2002; Reynolds & Kupfer, 1999). To account for this, several theoretical links have been

posited. In fact, some have suggested affective factors may be as important in predicting

performance as actual capability (Zarit, 1982). "The tendency for older people to convince

themselves or be convinced by others that they have a problem may be as important a

determinant of their daily functioning as objective changes in ability" (p. 2). Bandura (1997)

conceptualizes SE beliefs as the central mediator of cognitive, behavioral, and environmental

contributors to depression. Even though depression and SE interact bidirectionally (see triadic

reciprocal causation above), Bandura emphasizes that depression/low SE cycles begin with the

individual's low SE. For example, an individual feels that she cannot control the "inevitable"

decline in her ability to remember her weekly luncheon appointments. This then leads her to feel

increasingly depressed and hopeless, which in turn reduces her motivation to even make

appointments. As a result, she sees fewer of her friends for lunch, becomes more isolated, and

doubts her abilities (in various domains) even more. Given this powerful cycle, it seems quite

possible, therefore, that subjective memory reports by older adults could actually reflect

depressed mood masked as low memory ability or cognitive decline. Disentangling these

variables is crucial as any of them could adversely affect performance.

Empirically, depression and memory were linked decades ago by Kahn et al. (1975) &

Gurland et al. (1976), both of whom found significant associations of memory complaints

("negative self-evaluation") and depression. Since then, while researchers have generally agreed

that memory complaints are exacerbated in those who are depressed, teasing out the relationship









between subjective memory complaints, objective memory impairment and depression has

proved to be difficult (Riedel-Heller, et al., 1999). The presence of depressive symptoms or

disorder has been found to correlate with significantly higher levels of memory complaint,

(Collins & Abeles, 1996; O'Conner et al., 1990; Grut, Jorm, & Fratiglioni, 1993; Schofield et al.,

1997) and various measures of cognitive decline (Paterniti et al., 2002; Wilson et al., 2002). For

example, Zarit (1982) found that while age was inversely correlated with memory performance

scores, older persons did not report more memory problems (complaints). Further, memory

performance accounted for 22% of the explained variance in subjective memory complaints, this

figure nearly doubled (38%) after adding depression to the prediction model, suggesting that

self-assessment of memory may be more strongly correlated with mood than performance.

Though fewer in number, other studies, however, have found the opposite pattern, with those

who complained actually performing better on objective memory tests than those who did not

(Kahn et al., 1975; Williams et al., 1987).

Several studies focusing on memory training have sought to understand how depression

might fit in the equation. Best et al. (1992), in a comparison of training interventions, found

those in one group showed a significant reduction in memory complaints with little

corresponding effect on performance, while those in a second group showed improved

performance, but with little corresponding reduction in complaints. Further, depression was not

related to complaints for either group (though it should be noted that the sample was largely non-

depressed). From these data it appears that memory complaints do not necessarily reflect nor

predict deficient memory performance.

Scogin et al. (1985) found that mnemonic training led to improvement in most memory

performance tasks, but had little impact on complaints and none on depression. Both high and









low complainers were similar in terms of performance and depression. Zarit and colleagues

(1981) found that older adults reduced memory complaints after training, even if performance

did not improve. Despite complaint reduction, there was no significant association between

complaints and performance or depression both before and after training. Change in affective

status, but not performance, was related to lessened complaints, suggesting performance may

have been more powerfully associated with depression (Zarit et al., 1981).

The equivocal findings regarding the interrelationships of depression, memory

complaints, and memory performance are puzzling, especially given that complaining itself is a

symptom of depression and it has been shown that memory complaints can resolve if depression

lifts (Plotkin et al. 1985). Clearly, navigating through the interplay of these variables is complex,

and empirical attempts to do so have yielded inconclusive results. It does appear safe to

conclude that the link between depression and memory complaints is more strongly supported

empirically than either the association of depression with performance, or complaints with

performance.

Before leaving the topic of depression and memory, it is important to note that few of

these studies have used clinical methodology to diagnose depression. "Depression" has been

measured with a variety of scales (e.g., Beck Depression Inventory, Zung Depression Scale,

Geriatric Depression Scale), and diagnostic criteria. Most of the extant literature focuses on

samples consisting of few, if any, participants diagnosed with major depression. Rather, it has

focused on more general reports of depressive symptomatology. This is a subtle but important

distinction between general depressive symptoms (e.g., I sometimes feel blue) and more specific

diagnostic criteria (e.g., major depressive disorder). Items aiming to tap general "depression"

and items tapping general memory complaints, may capture how an individual feels about him or









herself in general, rather than an individual's confidence in his or her ability to perform a

specific task. Given this important methodological nuance in the depression and memory

literature, it is unclear how depressive symptomatology will relate to specific measures of MSE.

Further exploration of this path is one of the goals of this research. Some of the aforementioned

complexity may be related, in part, to measurement issues; which are discussed next.

Self-Efficacy Measurement Issues

Whereas Bandura's conceptualization of self-efficacy has garnered widespread

acceptance, firmly establishing how self-efficacy should be measured, has proven more

challenging. There is no approach to efficacy measurement that is 100% accepted, therefore

measurement issues are important when addressing the role of efficacy and depression in

memory performance.

So how should self-efficacy be measured? Bandura distinguishes between global,

omnibus measures and domain-specific measures, the latter being preferable when the goal of

research is to "maximize the predictive validity of self-efficacy relative to performance

attainments." (Berry & West, 1993, pp. 354-5) "Efficacy beliefs should be measured in terms of

particularized judgments of capability that may vary across realms of activity, under different

levels of task demands within a given activity domain, and under different situational

circumstances" (Bandura, 1997, p.42). In terms of measurement, Bandura stipulates the

following: A well-defined and thorough conceptual analysis of the activity domain of interest

(i.e., memory), its requisite capabilities (i.e., free recall, recognition, serial recall), and the range

of circumstances under which these capabilities may be applied. (i.e., supermarket, post office).

He argues that particularized efficacy beliefs are most predictive because they "guide which

activities are undertaken and how well they are performed" (Bandura, 1997, p.40). This

emphasis on specificity has been supported empirically, as the following examples illustrate.









In two studies with college students, Wang and Richarde (1988) sought to demonstrate

that self-efficacy was a state not a trait, variable. In their first study, the authors compared task-

specific measures of self-efficacy with Tipton & Worthington's (1984) measure of generalized

self-efficacy, consisting of items addressing expectations of performance competence across a

range of activities (e.g., I am a very determined person, I can succeed at most any endeavor to

which Iset my mind). Modified after Bandura & Schunk (1981), the task-specific scale included

six performance tasks for which participants assessed their ability on a 10-point Likert scale (1 =

not sure, 10 = very sure). Among the results of a principle components analysis was a bipolar

factor for general self-efficacy scores and task-specific measures, with heavy factor loadings in

opposite directions. This finding suggests that they were measuring opposing aspects of the

same construct (Wang & Richarde, 1988).

In their second study, Wang and Richarde (1988) focused specifically on the relationship

between task-specific measures and performance. All participants were pretested on task-

specific self-efficacy for mathematical tasks, after being shown examples of such tasks for 2

seconds. They were asked to rate their certainty of correctly performing such tasks on the same

task-specific scale used in the first study. Following this pretest, the experimental group was

given a few minutes to perform the tasks, and then was posttested for both task-specific efficacy

and general efficacy. A control group followed the same pretest-posttest protocol yet was not

given the opportunity to perform the tasks. Results showed that while both groups were

statistically equivalent on measures of generalized self-efficacy and the pretest measures of task-

specific self-efficacy, only the experimental group's posttest task-specific self-efficacy ratings

correlated significantly with performance. Although pretest task-specific self-efficacy did not

predict performance in this case, the authors attribute this to the brief 2 second exposure to the









tasks, which may not have allowed participants time to adequately appraise their self-efficacy.

More importantly, the authors concluded from both studies that general and task-specific scales

assess distinctly different aspects of the efficacy construct.

More recently, Earley and Lituchy (1991) conducted several studies examining the

relationship between self-efficacy and goal setting among college students. In the first study,

participants were assigned to one of two groups varying in goal difficulty ('easy' = complete 80

math problems in 30 minutes, 'challenging' = complete 200 math problems in 30 minutes).

Consistent with Bandura's notion, task-specific self-efficacy was assessed via participant self-

ratings for five performance levels- 80, 110, 140, 170, and 200 math problems. Participants

were then asked what their personal goal was, regardless of the assigned goal. The 17-item

General Achievement subscale of Scherer et al.'s (1982) self-efficacy scale was used to measure

generalized self-efficacy, referred to as "trait efficacy" by the authors. They also assessed

"valence," or participants' predicted level of satisfaction were they to achieve their goal.

Before the authors controlled for the influence of personal goals, task-specific self-

efficacy and performance valence accounted for 44% of the variance in performance. However,

when ability and personal goals were controlled for, performance valence was no longer

significantly related to performance, although self-efficacy was still significant. Conversely,

generalized self-efficacy did not significantly contribute to performance when it was entered into

a regression equation after accounting for personal goals, task-specific self-efficacy, performance

valence, and goal condition. These results were replicated in two subsequent studies with

different activities one involving successful performance on a computer game, the other, a field

study examining business students' academic performance during a regular semester. The

authors concluded that generalized self-efficacy had no effect on performance in the two









laboratory studies and made an equivocal contribution in the field study, while task-specific self-

efficacy proved a superior predictor of performance. They argued that "the weak and null

findings for performance valence and trait efficacy call into question the necessity of these

constructs for the prediction of performance" (Earley & Lituchy, 1991, p.96).

Clearly, Bandura's case for using specific self-efficacy has been supported by others.

However, Schwarzer and colleagues have favored the measurement of a broader construct of

general self-efficacy (Schwarzer & Fuchs, 1996; Scholz et al., 2002; Luszczynska, Scholz, &

Schwarzer, 2005), which they liken to optimistic self-belief "An open question refers to the

optimal degree of specificity or generality of the self-efficacy construct... Although there is

nothing wrong with more and more specificity, there still exist generalized measures that have

considerable predictive value (Schwarzer & Fuchs, 1996, p.186).

Schwarzer and Jerusalem (1995) first developed their General Perceived Self-Efficacy

Scale (GSE) to measure personal agency, that is, the extent to which one believes his or her

actions are responsible for successful outcomes, in any domain. Their original aim was to predict

coping with daily hassles and adaptation in the face of stressful life events. More recently,

Schwarzer and his colleagues have focused extensively on health behavior in general. Their

results indicate that both general and specific self-efficacy have unique predictive value, that is,

results obtained from one do not imply similar results from the other (Luszczynska, Scholz, &

Schwarzer, 2005). In light of this, Schwarzer and others (e.g., Cervone, 1997) have called for

direct comparison of both general and specific self-efficacy measures; a call that except for the

studies presented here, has largely gone unheeded.

Current Study

Informed by the data cited thus far, the current study has several primary aims. First, I

will consider the relationship of memory performance to different types of self-efficacy--









domain-specific and general--to compare their respective predictive power. To my knowledge,

this is the first head-to-head empirical comparison of general and specific efficacy measures with

respect to prediction of memory performance. Because self-efficacy beliefs can vary in

importance and relevance over the course of life as a function of the individual salience of a

given domain at a particular point in time (Bandura, 1997; Berry & West, 1993), and because

memory appears to hold more salience for the older population, the current research focuses on a

sample of community-dwelling elders with an expressed interest in memory. In addition, this

research explores the potential effects of depression on memory performance; a link that has

been theoretically posited, but whose empirical support, to date, has been inconclusive. Finally,

in analyzing each variable of interest, there will also be a focus on potential age differences

among the older cohort. The current sample, comprised of participants aged 50 90 years old,

offers a fairly broad age sample in which to do this.

Hypotheses

1. Bandura's theoretical concepts, supported by the empirical examples above, lead to the

conclusion that specific self-efficacy, as opposed to general self-efficacy, will be the

strongest predictor of performance. It is therefore hypothesized that older adult memory

performance will be more robustly correlated with memory self-efficacy than general

self-efficacy.

2. It is hypothesized that as age increases, there will be a concomitant increase in predictive

power of MSE on memory performance. Across psychological and gerontological

research, the common classification of older adults may be somewhat misleading.

Though some have broken this demographic down into old and oldest-old (i.e., >85yrs.),

or young-old (<70 yrs.) and old-old, more often than not, the older adult population has

been considered together in a relatively unsystematic way. Doing this may mask the









potential heterogeneity of this population. This becomes most relevant when considering

the theoretical increase in salience of memory over time. If such increased salience leads

to increased awareness and sensitivity, it is likely that MSE will assume an increasingly

important role vis-a-vis memory performance as adults grow older.

3. In light of theory and the mixed results linking depression and memory, it is hypothesized

that depression will not be as strong a predictor of memory performance as MSE.









CHAPTER 2
MATERIALS AND METHODS

Participants were 193 community dwelling older adults (ages 54 to 92, M= 70.5) from

north central Florida, recruited to participate in memory training. Demographic data were

captured, including age, gender, marital status, race, education level, and subjective health (1 =

excellent health, 10 = very poor health). Participants were primarily Caucasian (97%, n = 187)

and female (74%, n = 143). Basic ability measures were administered, including the Digit

Symbol subscale of the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-Revised (WAIS; Wechsler, 1981) and

The Shipley-Hartford Vocabulary Test (Shipley, 1940). Sample characteristics are reported in

Table 2-1.

Memory Self-Efficacy

Memory self-efficacy was assessed with a short version of the Memory Self-Efficacy

Questionnaire (MSEQ-4; West et al., 2003) The MSEQ-4 is a 20-item self-report measure of

memory self-efficacy for distinct memory tasks. These tasks are name recall (e.g., If someone

showed me the photographs ofXpeople and told me their names once, I could identify Y persons

by name if saw the pictures again afew minutes later), remembering items from a grocery list

(e.g., If I heard it twice, I could remember Xitems from a friend's grocery list of Y items, n itih,,t

taking any lit 1 i/th me to the store), remembering main points from a story, and remembering

the locations of household items. Individuals indicate their confidence level for performing each

of these tasks at varying difficulty levels, responding on a scale from 0 (I cannot do it) to 100

(100% sure I can do it). The dependent measure is self-efficacy strength, calculated as the

average confidence rating across all items. The MSEQ is a valid and reliable measure of self-

efficacy strength (Berry et al., 1989) and internal consistency reliability in this sample was high

(a =.88).









General Self-Efficacy

General self-efficacy was assessed with Schwarzer & Jerusalem's (1995) Generalized

Self-Efficacy Scale (GSE). This is a 10-item questionnaire that asks respondents to indicate on a

4-point Likert scale (1 = not at all true, 4 = exactly true), how applicable each statement is to

them. Statements include "I can always manage to solve difficult problems ifI try hard

enough, IfI am in trouble, I can usually think of a solution, and "I can usually handle

whatever comes my way. This scale has shown good validity and reliability in past research

(Luszczynska, Gutierrez-Dofia, & Schwarzer, 2005) and, in this sample, the full scale score

showed acceptable levels of internal consistency reliability (c = .83).

Memory Performance

Shopping list. Participants were given a list of words to study from, then after varying

time intervals, they were instructed to write down as many words as they could recall from

memory, without the list. Two versions of a partially categorized shopping list were developed

(West, Welch, & Thorn, 2001), and participants were randomly assigned to receive one of these

two lists. Each list contained 15 items, and participants were allotted one minute to study the

items, and up to 4 minutes for recall. This was experimenter-paced. Half of the items on the list

were categorizable. The number of correct items recalled was used as the dependent measure.

Names. Participants were shown 3 pages of headshot photographs (4 per page) with a

first name under each photograph. Two versions of 12 faces and names were developed and

assigned randomly to participants. For both versions, the faces were balanced for age, ethnicity,

and gender so that each page of four photographs represented at least two different ages, two

ethnicities, and both genders. Participants were given 1 minute to study and 4 minutes to recall

the names. Once the study time elapsed, participants turned the page and saw the same

photographs with blank bubbles underneath, in which they were instructed to fill in the proper









names that matched each photograph. The number of correct names recalled was used as the

dependent measure.

Depression

Depression was assessed using the SF-36 Health Survey (Ware, Jr., 1993), a commonly

used measure of overall health, with high validity and reliability (McHorney, Ware, Lu, &

Sherbourne, 1994). A scale of five items was used to assess depressed mood (e.g., Have you

been a very nervous person?, Have you felt so down in the dumps that nothing could cheer you

up?, Have you felt calm and peaceful?, Have you felt downhearted and blue?, Have you been a

happy person?), following the specifications in the design of the SF-36 (Ware Jr., 1993).

Respondents indicated on a 6-point Likert scale (1 = all of the time, 6 = none of the time) how

often they experienced symptoms in the previous four weeks. This scale has been shown to

effectively measure depression (Beusterien, Steinwald, & Ware Jr., 1996; Elliott, Renier, &

Palcher, 2003). Though a subset of a larger health scale, there was good internal consistency

among these items ( = .83).

Other Measures

A number of other measures were examined in the primary research from which these

data were taken, including The Need for Cognition Scale (Cacioppo & Petty, 1982), subscales of

Locus, Anxiety, and Achievement from the Metamemory in Adulthood (MIA) questionnaire

(Dixon, & Hultsch, 1984), story recall, strategy checklists, a second set of recall trials, other SF-

36 items, and an assessment of daily activities. These questionnaires are not relevant to the

purpose of this research and will not be considered further.









Table 2-1. Sample Characteristics

Variable N M SD

Age 197 70.32 7.60

Years of Education 197 15.32 2.97

General Self-Efficacy 198 30.74 3.62

Memory Self-Efficacy 193 46.86 16.53

Vocabulary Level 145 33.45 5.61

Depression 196 24.93 3.60

Memory Performance (List Recall) 195 9.50 2.31

Memory Performance (Name Recall) 195 4.80 2.78









CHAPTER 3
RESULTS

Overview

Tests of each hypothesis were conducted with multiple linear regression models. To

ensure that these analyses were stable and unbiased, multicollinearity was analyzed and the

resulting diagnostics showed acceptable tolerance levels (.84 .97) for all key variables.

Examination of the measures showed normal distribution of all variables except for depression

which was skewed skewnesss = -1.30, kurtosis = 1.37), likely due to relatively low levels of

depressive symptoms within the sample. Normality statistics were all within an acceptable range

according to most conventions (e.g., Field, 2005).

Hypothesis I

Hypothesis I was tested using a simultaneous linear regression analysis, directly

comparing the two independent predictor variables, general self-efficacy as measured by the

GSE (Schwarzer & Jerusalem, 1995) and memory self-efficacy as measured by the MSEQ-4

(West et al., 2003). Separate analyses were conducted for both list and name recall (memory

performance). Overall, both models were significant, F(2,190) = 18.09, p <.001, adjusted R2 =

.15 (name); F(2,189) = 7.33, p <.001, adjusted R2 = .06 (list). However, consistent with the

hypothesis, though MSE was significant for both list (P =.22, p < .005) and name (P=.36, p <

.001), general self-efficacy was not (both ps>.10).

To further understand the relationship between general and specific self-efficacy as a

predictor of memory performance, the analyses were rerun hierarchically with general self-

efficacy entered alone first, and MSE added as a second predictor in the second model. As a

predictor of name recall, both the first [F(1,191) = 8.23, p < .005, adjusted R2 = .04] and second

models [F(2,190) = 18.09, p<.001, adjusted R2 = .15, R2 change = .12] were significant. Though









general self-efficacy was significant in the first model (3 = .20, p < .005), the addition of MSE in

the second model rendered general self-efficacy non-significant ( =. 10, p > .10), while MSE

remained significant (P =.36,p <.001). As a predictor of list recall, both the first [F(1,190) =

5.13, p < .05] and second models [F(2,189) = 7.33, p < .001, R2 change = .05] were significant.

Again, as with name recall, adding MSE to the overall model rendered general self-efficacy non-

significant (P = .10, p >.15), while MSE remained significant (P = .22, p < .005).

Hypothesis II

Hypothesis II was tested with a multiple regression, with age and MSE, and their

interaction, included as predictor variables, and memory performance as the dependent variable.

Centered terms (standardized z-scores) were created for both predictors, age and MSE, and these

values were multiplied to create an interaction variable (see Jaccard, Wan, & Turrisi, 1990).

Hierarchical regression was run separately for both memory tasks. Consistent with the

hypothesis, it was expected that when predicting memory performance, the interaction effect of

age and MSE would be significant. Confirmation of this would offer indirect evidence of the

disproportionate salience of memory for older adults.

For name recall, MSE and age were first entered simultaneously as predictors. The

overall model was significant F(2,196) = 31.31, p <.001, adjusted R2 = .23. Both age (P = -.31)

and MSE (P = .35) were significant (bothps <.001). After including the interaction term, the

overall model showed no significant change in R2 value F(3,195) = 20.78, p <.001, adjusted R2 =

.23, R2 change = .000. Main effects of MSE (P = .35) and age (P = -.31) remained significant (p

<.001), but the interaction term was not significant ( = .01,p >.50). For list recall, MSE and age

were entered simultaneously as the first predictors. The overall model was significant F(2,195)

= 16.60, p<.001, adjusted R2 = .14 as were main effects of both age (P = -.28, p <.001) and MSE

(0 = .23, p <.001). Again, after adding the interaction term, the overall model was significant









F(3,194) = 11.97, p <.001, adjusted R2 = .14, R2 change = .01 as were effects for both age (3 = -

.30, p <.001) and MSE (P = .21, p < .005). The interaction term, however, was not significant (P

=.ll,p >.10).

Hypothesis III

Hypothesis III was tested using a hierarchical regression analysis with MSEQ-4 score and

depression (as measured by items from the SF-36) as the independent variables and memory

performance as the dependent variable. Like the tests of hypothesis I, separate analyses were

conducted for both list and name recall (memory performance). First, separate regressions were

run for each dependent variable with both predictors entered simultaneously. Overall, both

models were significant, F(2,188) = 17.30, p <.001, adjusted R2 = .15 (name); F(2,187) = 7.37, p

< .001, adjusted R2 = .06 (list). However, consistent with the hypothesis, MSE was significant

for both list (P =.23, p < .001) and name (P=.37,p < .001), but depression was not (p>.10).

To further understand the relationship of these two variables with memory performance,

the analyses were rerun hierarchically with depression entered first, then MSE, for both name

and list recall outcome variables. Depression as the lone predictor was significant for both name

(P =.16, p < .05) and list (P =.14, p <.05) recall. Once MSE was added to the model, depression

was no longer a significant predictor of either name (P = .095, p > .15, R2 change = .13) or list (P

=. 102, p > .15, R2 change = .05) recall but MSE was (name -- 3 =.37, p <.001; list P = .23,

p<.001).

The results of the above analyses demonstrate that in the current sample, age and MSE

accounted for nearly 25% of the variance in name recall scores and approximately 15% of

variance in list recall. With age variance removed, MSE uniquely predicted almost 12% of the

variance in name and 5% of the variance in list recall performance. To further examine the full









predictive power of MSE, exploratory analyses, described below, were run with MSE and other

predictors previously associated with memory performance (e.g., West, Crook, & Barron, 1992).

Exploratory Analyses

To investigate just how well MSE stacked up to these and other predictors, an

exploratory analysis was later conducted with education and vocabulary added to the model as

potential predictors. All six variables (age, education, vocabulary, depression, general self-

efficacy, and memory self-efficacy) were entered simultaneously into the regression and separate

analyses were run for both list and name recall. Together, these variables contributed to an

adjusted R2 value of .30, F(6,135) = 10.41, p<.001, for name, and an adjusted R2 value of .13,

F(6,134) = 4.50, p<.001. Significant predictors of name recall were age (P = -.29,p <.001),

MSE (P = .36p <.001), and vocabulary ( = .17 p =.028), with MSE as the strongest predictor.

Education level, general self-efficacy, and depression were non-significant (p >.20).

Interestingly, the same pattern was not found for predicting list recall. Age remained significant

(P = -.28, p < .001), and depression just reached significance (P =.17, p = .049). However, the

other variables, including MSE (P = .01), were non-significant (p > .10). Digit symbol tasks,

traditionally included when examining working memory performance, were not completed by all

participants in the current study. To avoid potential problems related to sample variation, (i.e.

low N for digit symbol), this variable was not included as a possible predictor. All univariate

correlations are indicated in Table 3-1.









Table 3-1. Correlations Between Predictor and Memory Performance Variables
Variable 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

1. Memory Performance
(List Recall) ** .47** .14* .25** .21** -.31** 0.06 0.14
2. Memory Performance
(Name Recall) ** .21** .39** .23** -.34** .25** .15*
3. General Self-Efficacy ** .28** .21** -10 .21* .32**
4. Memory Self-
Efficacy ** .28** -0.11 0.13 0.18
5. Education ** -0.11 .21* 0.1
6. Age ** -0.01 0.09
7. Vocabulary ** .17*
8. Depression **

Note. ** p<.01, *p<.05


Discussion

The current study addressed several interrelationships among self-efficacy, age,

depression, and memory performance. To the author's knowledge, this is the first empirical

evaluation of task-specific self-efficacy's ability to predict performance compared to both

general self-efficacy and other potentially important predictor variables within an exclusively

older adult sample. As hypothesized, a direct comparison of memory-specific and general self-

efficacy resulted in the former accounting for unique variance, above and beyond that of general

self-efficacy, in predicting older adult memory performance. In addition, the current study found

that depression by itself significantly predicted memory performance, however, when memory

self-efficacy was added to the regression model, depression was no longer significant and

memory self-efficacy was retained as a significant predictor. Finally, this research afforded the

opportunity to test some interesting theoretical questions concerning the salience of memory for

an older population. Contrary to the hypothesis, an examination of the relationship between

MSE and performance, as a function of age, did not find any evidence for the increased salience

of MSE with age in this sample. Each of these findings will now be considered in detail.









Self-Efficacy

As mentioned earlier, this is the first direct empirical comparison of task-specific and

general self-efficacy within the realm of older adult memory performance. The finding that task-

specific, but not general self-efficacy, significantly predicted performance could have promising

implications. First, these results may prove valuable for future self-efficacy research and

measurement (i.e., scale construction) both in cognitive and non-cognitive (e.g., driving self-

efficacy) domains. The current finding provides empirical support for Bandura's (1986, 1997)

theoretical notion that as a construct, self-efficacy should be measured as particularized beliefs.

Often, other related but more general constructs such as self-esteem, self-concept, or general

self-efficacy, are posited to directly impact an individual's performance (Schwarzer & Fuchs,

1996). Results from the current study suggest that specific measures of self-efficacy are

distinctive from constructs tapping general confidence, and are most relevant to performance.

Though the results presented here show a clear link between MSE and memory

performance empirically, the direction of this relationship is less apparent and seems open to

interpretation. Does performance predict MSE or does MSE predict performance?

Theoretically, Bandura's concept of triadic reciprocal causation, central to self-efficacy theory,

suggests bidirectional interplay of these variables. However, he also posits a greater likelihood

that individuals approach a new task with pre-existing beliefs about their performance ability,

and it is these beliefs that impact successive performances, not vice versa. This notion has been

corroborated by empirical data from other domains aside from memory. Several studies have

employed similar designs to examine the self-efficacy-performance relationship with college

students. Results of this research have been comparable to those from the current study.

Pajares and Johnson (1993) utilized a sample of 30 college students to examine the

impact of self-efficacy, both general and task-specific, and anxiety (writing apprehension) on









writing performance. They also investigated any changes in these constructs over the course of

an academic term. The authors' results were similar to other empirical evidence (e.g., Siegel,

Galassi, & Ware, 1985) and those presented in the current study. General self-efficacy and

writing anxiety, though correlated with writing (specific) self-efficacy, did not correlate with

writing performance. In fact, though task-specific self-efficacy and performance levels increased

throughout the study, anxiety levels remained unchanged. Theoretically, these data seem

consistent with Bandura's position that in terms of performance, self-efficacy is task-specific,

and matters more than mood. In another study with college students, Lent, Larkin, and Brown

(1986) conducted hierarchical regressions to examine self-esteem, self-efficacy and academic

performance. Indices of the performance outcome variable included grades and persistence

(length of enrollment) measured one year later. The authors found that self-esteem was not

correlated with either self-efficacy measures or performance. More importantly, at the 1-year

follow-up, students scoring higher initially in self-efficacy had earned higher grades and

remained enrolled longer in the college. Task-specific self-efficacy was responsible for

approximately 10% of the variance in academic performance above and beyond measures of

actual ability, achievement, and interest.

Though these studies utilized young adult samples (raising concerns about

generalizability), in terms of directionality, these findings lend support to the notion that it is SE

that is influencing performance rather than vice versa. Perhaps the broadest support for this

comes from meta-analyses of mnemonic memory training studies which have consistently shown

performance is more easily changed (improved) than subjective memory beliefs (see Floyd &

Scogin, 1997; Verhaeghen, Marcoen, & Goosens, 1992). The fact that beliefs (i.e., efficacy)









appear less likely to change, at least in the short term, suggests that they are more stable and will

likely affect, rather than be affected by, performance.

In light of the impact of SE over and above that of aging, it appears neither prudent nor

realistic to view memory decline and impaired performance as inevitable and uncontrollable, a

common and detrimental thought process in which many older adults often find themselves

engaging. Rather, as Bandura (1997) repeatedly suggests, it seems that over time, optimal

performance can be influenced directly by working with and believing in what you have, as

opposed to worrying about what you have lost. Bandura makes this explicit, as do Floyd and

Scogin (1997), who conclude a meta-analysis on subjective beliefs as follows. "On the basis of

the results of this meta-analysis, we recommend that memory improvement programs place more

emphasis on modifying participants' attitudes toward aging-related memory loss. Effects on

subjective aspects of memory are just as important as, and are arguably more important than,

objective memory performance change as indicants of success" (p. 160). Theoretically, the most

effective way to enhance self-efficacy is through personal or enactive mastery. Such mastery is

distinct, however, from mere performance or experience. Mastery is successful performance that

occurs over time. Its resulting effect on self-efficacy is gradual and long term. By directly

experiencing even relatively moderate achievements, individuals can gain confidence and build

the belief that they can succeed (e.g., West, Bagwell, & Dark-Freudeman, in press). Future

research may seek to replicate the current efficacy-performance findings in other cognitive and

non-cognitive domains of human functioning and with various age groups.

Age

Age proved to be significantly associated with memory performance. This is not

surprising as most prior research on older adult cognition has shown this trend (Berry & West,

1993, West et al., 2003). The current study's utilization of an exclusively older adult sample









(ages 54 92yrs.) allowed for a more sensitive and specific assessment of the relationship

between self-efficacy and memory performance. As mentioned in the literature review, many

studies have analyzed both young and old age groups, together, potentially reducing the impact

of SE on performance by including a younger adult population for whom memory performance

does not necessarily hold particular salience (i.e., Hertzog et al., 1989, 1990). Theoretically, if

SE has a direct effect on performance, then analysis of the memory domain should primarily

focus on older adults, for whom memory is posited to be particularly salient. Consistent with

this notion, the present study, by excluding younger adults in the analysis, has both avoided any

potential reduction of SE impact on performance, and ensured that the results are directly

applicable to and indicative of an older adult population.

As mentioned earlier, empirical studies directly demonstrating that memory concerns

become more important to people as they age are scarce. Age-related salience as a theoretical

construct has, however, received some support (Berry & West, 1983; Lowenthal et al., 1967;

Kahn, 1975; Seeman et al., 1996). There is some evidence that the majority of older adults'

cognitive complaints are memory-related (Poon, 1985), and that older adults rate memory as

important, feel their memory is adequate, yet still report more instances of memory failure than

do younger adults (Dixon & Hultsch, 1983; Cavanaugh et al., 1983). Intuitively, it seems that as

adults age, especially in youth-focused, ageist societies, they become more aware of their ability

and performance, and notice changes, especially in domains in which they're stereotypically

expected (and perhaps expecting) to decline. As such awareness increases, individuals' self-

beliefs (efficacy) may become increasingly challenged, and regarding memory, temporary

episodes of forgetting may be (mis)perceived as evidence of permanent decline. This can inhibit

future memory performance (Rahhal, Hasher, & Colcombe, 2001) and result in overestimates of









how frequently one forgets (O'Hara et al., 1986; Sugar and McDowd, 1992). Empirically, this

could lead to distorted memory self-evaluation, and emotionally it could lead to a self-fulfilling

prophecy such that stereotypical expectations become reality. The current study looked at an

exclusively older adult sample which was comparable to prior studies both in terms of self-

efficacy level (e.g.,West & Yassuda, 2004) and memory performance (e.g.,West et al., 2005).

As mentioned earlier, once age variance was removed, MSE uniquely predicted almost 12% of

the variance in name and 5% of the variance in list recall performance. The value for list recall

here is slightly lower than that found in earlier research with list recall as a dependent measure

(see West & Yassuda, 2004). Name recall, however, compares more favorably to prior studies

(see Hertzog, Dixon, & Hultsch, 1990). It should be reiterated, however, that direct tests of the

MSE-performance relationship are scarce, and prior studies have operationalized and measured

the MSE construct, and memory performance, in different ways. These factors limit the extent to

which comparisons of the current results to earlier research can be made.

At the same time, it does not appear that the predictive power of MSE was

disproportionately greater for the oldest members of the study's sample. There are several

potential explanations for the fact that this hypothesis was not confirmed. First, the sample's age

range, although not restricted overall, ranging from 54 to 92 years, was somewhat limited, with

few participants below age 60 and very few aged 85 or above (n = 7). Though cut-off ages for

old and oldest-old have been arbitrary and varied across psychological literature, many studies

classify the latter as > 85 years old. It may be that increased salience effects do not significantly

manifest themselves except in the oldest age ranges. A more effective approach for the future

may be to include a more complete age range from mid-life to late life, especially since the









current study's examination of age-related increased salience in a more limited sample yielded

non-significant findings.

Additionally, all participants in the current sample expressed interest in memory and

memory training as they were recruited explicitly for that purpose. It seems plausible, therefore,

that this may have created a ceiling effect, and not allowed for a diverse or increasing range of

memory salience; that is, memory concerns may have been salient for most of the group.

Although this explanation is plausible, comparisons to other experimental studies show

comparable MSE strength means and standard deviations to those reported in this sample (e.g.,

West et al., 1996). Therefore, it appears that the any restriction of MSE in the current sample

was minimal.

Depression

Analysis of depression's potential effect on memory performance and self-efficacy has

yielded inconclusive and conflicting results (Scogin et al., 1985, Best et al., 1992). In the current

study, depression, as a lone predictor, was found to be significantly associated with memory

performance, however, adding MSE to the regression model attenuated this effect such that

depression was no longer significant. This finding is consistent with others that have

demonstrated depression's link to memory complaints (Gurland et al., 1976; Collins & Abeles,

1996; O'Conner et al., 1990; Grut, Jorm, & Fratiglioni, 1993; Schofield et al., 1997), but not

necessarily memory performance. This distinction is supported further by the significant

correlation found between depression and general self-efficacy. Though not specifically

assessing complaints, per se, the general self-efficacy scale used in the current study is a measure

of general mood, tapping how someone is doing (or feeling) overall. It is not surprising,

therefore, that these two variables were significantly correlated.









Though the current study has not demonstrated causality, and the verdict is still out as to

whether ameliorating depressive symptoms may enhance performance, the preponderance of the

results presented here suggests that the role of self-efficacy is stronger than the role of depression

with respect to predicting actual performance. This is consistent with Bandura's (1997) emphasis

on the stronger role of self-efficacy than depression in explaining performance.

Interestingly, exploratory regression analyses including age, education, vocabulary,

depression, and general self-efficacy as predictors, in addition to MSE, yielded inconsistent

results. Examining name recall as the outcome variable, MSE was a significant predictor but

depression was not. However, when examining list recall as the outcome variable, the converse

was true; depression just reached significance (p=.049), whereas MSE did not. Due to some

measurement issues in this research, this finding is likely to be spurious (see limitations section).

Memory Performance

Depression and general self-efficacy, as lone predictors, were each significantly

associated with both name and list recall performance. Once memory self-efficacy was added to

each regression model (i.e., depression and memory self-efficacy; general and memory self-

efficacy), it was the only significant predictor of memory performance. This was true for both

name and list recall. This finding that memory self-efficacy was more robustly associated with

both performance variables was expected and consistent with the study's hypotheses.

Interestingly, there were cases where list recall and name recall appeared to show

differential findings, specifically, the predictive power of self-efficacy was stronger for name

recall. List and name recall, as outcome measures of memory performance, may have

meaningful, qualitative differences. The extant literature provides evidence that name recall is

among the most challenging memory tasks, particularly for those advancing in age (Crook &

West, 1990; Burke, Worthley, & Martin, 1988). One problem with names is that people treat









them merely as labels, devoid of meaningful information (Cohen, 1990, 1996). Therefore, when

trying to remember names, people may not access semantic networks, shown to aid in

remembering (e.g., Yesavage, Rose, & Bower, 1983), as they might with lists or other types of

meaning-based information. Though speculative, it could be that because names are more

difficult to recall, MSE has a greater impact on name memory.

As an alternative explanation, consider that older adults are often sensitive and concerned

about their ability to recall people's names when they see them. It seems feasible, therefore, that

name recall, more so than other types of memory tasks, may arouse affective or emotional

mechanisms (i.e., inducing anxiety) and be perceived as particularly daunting. Mangos and

Steele-Johnson (2001) examined SE, performance, goal orientation and subjective task

complexity. They found that SE and subjective task complexity (i.e. perceived difficulty) were

significantly correlated, and the effects of subjective task complexity on performance were

completely mediated by SE.

As mentioned earlier, self-efficacy affects performance not just through cognitive

processes, but also via affective and motivational processes. One of the primary advantages or

benefits of high self-efficacy is the willingness and ability to tolerate or even fend off increasing

anxiety associated with a given activity (Bandura, 1986, 1997). Those higher in efficacy may

feel better equipped to tolerate task-related anxiety and may remain motivated to persevere while

those lower in efficacy may be quicker to lose motivation, potentially giving up prematurely

when facing tasks that are particularly intimidating. Older adults' sensitivity to and difficulty

with name recall tasks, coupled with self-efficacy's affective and motivational components, may

explain the current finding that MSE was more directly linked to name recall.









Limitations

There are several limitations to this study. Age, gender, and depression levels were not

normally distributed throughout the study sample. Though the participants constitute a

somewhat large and diverse range of ages (54 92 yrs.), and the age variable was normally

distributed within the sample, the sample was limited as discussed earlier. The somewhat

restricted nature of the sample may have had a negative impact, particularly on the study's ability

to identify age-related salience of memory (hypothesis 2). The absence of this finding does not

negate the possibility that as age increases across the full life span, so does the salience of

memory, and investigators may still wish to address this issue, particularly in longitudinal

research.

The sample's distribution of gender was more clearly skewed, as women (74%)

comprised nearly three times as many participants as men (26%). This may be relevant as

several studies examining self-efficacy have found lower levels among women (Clark &

Nothwehr, 1999; Grembowski et al., 1993; Resnick et al., 2000; Shin et al., 2001). Depression

both among older adults (Murrell, Himmelfarb, & Wright, 1983) and across the life span

(Piccinelli & Wilkinson, 2000) has also been found to be higher among women. Regarding

memory performance, several studies have shown higher performance scores among women

(West, Welch, & Knabb, 2002; West, Crook, & Barron, 1992). Though this pattern of lower

self-efficacy but higher performance among women seems potentially relevant, especially given

the majority of participants in the present sample were female, the effects of this on the current

study are unclear as memory self-efficacy was normally distributed here. Regarding gender and

age, future research might strive to oversample for male participants and seek fuller age ranges.

This seems particularly important as human longevity increases and women tend to outlive men

in most industrialized nations (Rieker & Bird, 2005).









Depression was assessed in this study with several items from the SF-36, a

comprehensive health survey. Though this will capture depressive symptoms, it is not a clinical

measure, nor is it sufficiently sensitive or thorough to detect individuals with major depressive

disorder. Again, this does not appear problematic given the fact that this was a relatively high-

functioning, non-depressed sample, where clinical depression was unlikely. Though it is unclear

to what extent these results can be generalized to a more depressed population, arguably, the best

way to tap into depressive affect in this kind of sample is to examine symptoms. Such an

approach has been implemented with diverse community-dwelling older adults across many

domains (e.g., Miller, et al., 2004; Yates & Dunnagan, 2001; Koropeckyj-Cox, 1998). However,

a better test for the impact of depression would include participants exhibiting varying degrees of

depression, as well as more sensitive and specific assessments capable of assessing these

differences. In future research with more highly depressed participants, more specific measures

of depression might be employed such as the Structured Clinical Interview for Depression

(SCID; Spitzer et al., 1992), Diagnostic Interview Schedule (DIS; Robins, Helzer, Croughan, &

Ratcliff, 1981), or even self-report measures such as the Center for Epidemiological Study of

Depression Scale (CES-D; Radloff, 1977) or the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI; Beck, Steer,

& Garbin, 1988).

As mentioned earlier, results of exploratory analyses showing depression's significance

and MSE's non-significance in predicting list recall were surprising. MSE showed a significant

univariate correlation with list recall whereas depression did not. It seems possible, therefore,

that the impact of MSE may have been suppressed by other variables (education and general

self-efficacy, with which it correlated significantly), rendering it non-significant. It should be

reiterated that despite this apparent suppressor effect, collinearity diagnostics for all variables









were acceptable. The fact that the sample was skewed toward non-depressed suggests this

significant finding may be spurious. The relative ease of the list recall task may have allowed for

inflated scores for participants, with the exception of those participants reporting depressive

symptoms, for whom scores could be quite low. It is also possible that this finding represents

sample variations as later participants in the study did not complete the vocabulary scale,

resulting in a much lower N for the exploratory analyses that included vocabulary. Given all of

these factors, it is difficult to be confident about the accuracy of this finding, thus any further

interpretation is speculative. It seems likely that this resulted more from sample skew than

anything else. Future replication with a broader distribution of depression and perhaps

alternative memory recall measures might be beneficial.

Clinical Implications

The current results may be directly applied to interventions and training programs with

older adults, designed specifically to target and build their memory self-efficacy. MSE's

predictive power evidenced here, suggests that aging individuals' perceptions and beliefs about

their memory may have a direct impact on their subsequent performance. As outlined in the

introduction, although specific intervention designs can vary, to successfully enhance self-

efficacy, training must target the four primary sources: enactive mastery experiences, vicarious

experience, verbal persuasion/social influences, and physiological/affective states (Bandura,

1993). To reiterate, although each source is relevant, enactive mastery is the most effective

experience through which self-efficacy can be maximized.

Empirical attempts to improve memory performance by enhancing memory self-efficacy

are sparse, and prior literature suggests memory training is more effective at improving

performance than altering subjective beliefs (West, Bagwell, & Dark-Freudeman, in press; Floyd

& Scogin, 1997). One such study by Best et al. (1992) targeted outcome expectancies, which









Bandura (1986) posits flow from the particular behavior or course of action, serving as

incentives or disincentives, depending on whether they are positive or negative. Ageist societal

attitudes may contribute negatively and discourage older adults from maximizing performance in

highly stereotypic domains of functioning such as memory. In their intervention study, the

authors attempted to enhance performance by undoing such negative expectancies and focusing

on the positive aspects of aging, benefits of greater self-efficacy, and scientific and medical

evidence contrary to such ageist stereotypes. Though successful at lowering memory complaints

among their sample, concomitant gains in performance did not occur, perhaps because the

opportunities for mastery were minimal.

A more effective design might be patterned after the work of Jones, Burckhardt, &

Bennett, (2004) with chronic pain (fibromyalgia) sufferers. Adhering closely to Bandura's four

main SE sources, the authors devised motivational interviewing techniques to encourage physical

exercise. In their theoretical model, participants learn (by doing) that they are capable of

completing previously feared exercises enactivee mastery), observe others similar to themselves

experiencing success (modeling/vicarious learning), receive positive encouragement from

doctors and physical therapists (verbal persuasion/social influences), and experience decreases in

pain, fatigue, and depression (physiological/affective states). A similar approach tailored to

older adult memory seems warranted. West and colleagues have facilitated both efficacy and

performance gains in their work utilizing goal setting coupled with feedback (e.g., West &

Yassuda, 2004; West et al., 2003) and in memory training (West et al., in press).

Empirical literature examining depression's (negative) effects on memory performance has

been inconclusive, and Bandura's theoretical stance is clear; low/poor self-efficacy is what

initially leads to depression rather than vice versa. In the two-predictor regression models, MSE









significantly predicted both list and name recall while depression did not. In light of these

factors, a sensible approach for clinicians working with elders presenting with memory concerns,

might be to target self-efficacy directly, in an attempt to maximize memory performance, as

opposed to relieving depressive symptoms. This might indirectly fight against or perhaps even

stave off depressive episodes or symptomatology. Again, though a bit speculative, prior findings

that perceived memory decline is a foremost concern among elders, and Bandura's view that

feelings of inefficacy can lead to depression rather than the opposite, suggest that increasing

efficacy should be the priority.

Theoretical Implications

Though Bandura theorizes from a life span perspective, self-efficacy theory gives

comparatively minimal consideration to efficacy declines in late life and the broader implications

of such decrement. Self-efficacy theory does consider aging and even memory, specifically, but

gives them brief consideration so far, relative to a focus on efficacy development in childhood.

Considering SE's bidirectional nature and its consistently significant relationship with

performance, apparent here and elsewhere, more attention should be directed toward the latter

part of life and any changes or difficulties unique to this period of functioning. Physiological

changes accompanying the normative aging process could make building or even maintaining SE

increasingly challenging. It seems logical that the risk of a downward cycle of decreased

performance, lowered SE, and subsequent increasingly poorer performance or even task

avoidance would be greater as people age. As human longevity increases, this will become

increasingly relevant. Relevant theoretical expansion seems warranted to consider a truly

comprehensive, life span theory.

In terms of salience, though memory is most relevant to this study, it seems likely that

there may be other domains of functioning, not solely cognitive in nature, for which salience, and









therefore importance of SE, may increase or decrease over the life span as well (i.e., falls/balance

self-efficacy, vision self-efficacy, driving self-efficacy). Exploration of why such changes might

occur could potentially contribute to an extension of Bandura's theory in terms of SE's

differential relevance for diverse age groups and its impact on their subsequent behavior or

performance. Further empirical analysis and theoretical development with respect to aging and

differential salience of various functional domains seem warranted.

Future Research

Self-efficacy theory is a life span model, and thus applicable to people at all ages.

However, given that physical and cognitive difficulties are often most prevalent in later life, it

seems that beliefs and confidence, core elements of self-efficacy, may be increasingly relevant,

and perhaps vulnerable, for older adults. Though the current study did not provide evidence for

increased memory salience among older adults, more research is needed, ideally longitudinal in

nature and with elder participants from a broad age range, to further examine this posited

increased salience. Such a design might also allow for the identification of a particular age or

range during which this salience peaks. Recruitment of participants not necessarily interested in

memory might also aid in broadening SE and salience ranges. In addition to broader samples,

perhaps memory salience can be more directly measured. Scales of memory value, similar to the

achievement scale of the MIA (Dixon & Hultsch, 1984) might be effective. One caution, in

trying to assess salience directly is that the stereotype threat literature (i.e., Rahhal, Hasher, &

Colcombe, 2001) has illustrated time and again that people, especially older adults, may not be

consciously aware that certain functional domains hold more salience for them. In short, directly

tapping salience may be quite challenging, but it would also have much heuristic value for our

understanding of how self-efficacy affects performance in aging.









The breadth of tasks and domains of functioning to which self-efficacy measures can and

should be tailored seems limitless. Nevertheless, in order to obtain comparable measures of the

link between self-efficacy and performance, our results indicate that it is crucial that specificity

be maintained as SE measures are developed for additional domains (e.g., Smith & West, 2006).

As stipulated by Bandura and implemented here, SE measures are most useful when they assess

individuals' beliefs in their ability to execute a specific task. As research progresses, task

descriptions should closely fit the performance domain that is evaluated to ensure the

consistency and accuracy of the performance-SE relationship.

Regarding depression, the current study utilized several items to gauge symptoms and the

sample was largely non-depressed. This seems to appropriately reflect experiences during late

life, a period where the risk for clinical depression does not necessarily increase (Roberts,

Kaplan, Shema & Strawbridge, 1997), although it is rather common for older adults to report

depressive symptoms (see Blazer, 2002; Cole et al., 1999), especially those suffering impaired

functioning. Future research might more directly examine the depression-performance

relationship by comparing self-efficacy levels among depressed and non-depressed samples

longitudinally, to see if changes in depression level might be accompanied by commensurate

changes in self-efficacy and subsequent performance both within the domain of memory and

others. Such research might utilize samples of more severely depressed participants, and with

more sensitive and comprehensive measures of depression, as noted earlier.









CHAPTER 4
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS

The current study succeeded in providing some empirical support for Bandura's theoretical

claims, with regard to older adult memory. As predicted, memory self-efficacy, when directly

compared both to general self-efficacy, and depression, proved to be the sole significant

predictor of memory performance. When other factors were also covaried, self-efficacy retained

its predictive power for name recall. Though replication is needed, the results bode well for older

adult cognition and Bandura's conception of the self-efficacy construct. It appears that aging

individuals need not simply succumb to or view as inevitable any cognitive decline they may

experience as part of the normal aging process. Rather, their reaction to and perception of such

changes matter. This is grounds for hopeful optimism, and suggests that older adults should feel

empowered to play an active role in maximizing their memory ability as they age. As people

continue to live longer throughout the industrialized world, the beneficial effects of such

empowerment, especially when facilitated by future related psychological research, theoretical

development, and clinical interventions, should not be underestimated.









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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

Benjamin Andre' Bensadon was born on April 10, 1974, in New York City. An only

child raised in part by his grandmother, Benjamin's affinity and respect for older adults has

shaped him as a person and continues to guide his quest to help others. He earned his B.A. in

psychology and his Master of Education from Boston University in 1996 and 2000, respectively.

Benjamin has spent substantial time traveling and living in Europe, he is fluent in Italian

and is conversant in Spanish. Upon completion of his Ph.D. program, Benjamin will utilize his

linguistic, research and clinical skills to maximize his ability to ameliorate human suffering,

particularly that of older adults, as broadly as possible.





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SELF-EFFICACY AND MEMORY AGING: By BENJAMIN A. BENSADON A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLOR IDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF SCIENCE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2007 1

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2007 Benjamin A. Bensadon 2

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I thank the members of my supervisory co mmittee, Dr. Kenneth G. Rice and Dr. Bonnie Moradi, for their constructive feedback and helpfu l input, and my research Chair, Dr. Robin L. West, whose support, mentorship, ad vice, and of course, data, have played an integral role in enabling me to complete this study. 3

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TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS...............................................................................................................3 LIST OF TABLES................................................................................................................. ..........6 LIST OF FIGURES.........................................................................................................................7 ABSTRACT.....................................................................................................................................8 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION................................................................................................................. ...9 Self-Efficacy: Aging and Memory.........................................................................................13 Depression and Memory.........................................................................................................2 1 Self-Efficacy Measurement Issues.........................................................................................25 Current Study..........................................................................................................................28 Hypotheses..............................................................................................................................29 2 MATERIALS AND METHODS...........................................................................................31 Memory Self-Efficacy........................................................................................................... .31 General Self-Efficacy.............................................................................................................32 Memory Performance.............................................................................................................32 Shopping list....................................................................................................................32 Names..............................................................................................................................32 Depression..............................................................................................................................33 Other Measures................................................................................................................. ......33 3 RESULTS...................................................................................................................... .........35 Overview....................................................................................................................... ..........35 Hypothesis I.....................................................................................................................35 Hypothesis II...................................................................................................................36 Hypothesis III..................................................................................................................37 Exploratory Analyses......................................................................................................38 Discussion...............................................................................................................................39 Self-Efficacy....................................................................................................................40 Age..................................................................................................................................42 Depression.......................................................................................................................45 Memory Performance......................................................................................................46 Limitations.................................................................................................................... ..........48 Clinical Implications.......................................................................................................... .....50 Theoretical Implications....................................................................................................... ..52 Future Research......................................................................................................................53 4

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5 4 SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS.....................................................................................55 LIST OF REFERENCES...............................................................................................................56 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.........................................................................................................65

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LIST OF TABLES Table page 2-1. Sample Characteristics................................................................................................... .......34 3-1. Correlations Between Predictor and Memory Performance Variables.................................39 6

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LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 1-1. Reciprocal Determinism (Bandura, 1986; Pajares, 1996)......................................................10 7

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Abstract of Thesis Presen ted to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science SELF-EFFICACY AND MEMORY AGING By Benjamin A. Bensadon December 2007 Chair: Robin L. West Cochair: Kenneth G. Rice Major: Psychology If you believe it, you can achieve it. This popular phrase of personal empowerment has often been utilized in Hollywood and athletics as a performance e nhancing motivator. But is it really true? While its optimism and simplicity may make it appealing, from a scientific perspective, surely there are othe r, more relevant and superior determinants of peak performance. Or are there? Despite constituting a major area of empirical interest (and productivity) for psychologists studying cognitive aging, identifyi ng the strongest predictors of memory performance has proven elusive. Achieving this however, would be extremely valuable. From a theoretical perspective, understanding precisely which mechanisms most powerfully influence memory performance will enhance our ability to distinguish normative from pathological cognitive aging. From an applied perspective, this knowledge will guide and enhance future interventions with individuals worried about thei r current memory performance; consistently a central concern of the aged. Tw o variables receiving considerable attention in the older adult memory performance literature, and the focus of this paper, are self-efficacy and depression. Specifically, I will explore the interrelationships of general and domain-specific self-efficacy, memory performance and depression in aging. 8

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CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Bandura (1997) describes his Social Cognitive Theory as a multifaceted, causal structure that addresses both the development of compet ence and the regulation of action (p.34). A primary component of this theory is perceived self-efficacy, which refers to beliefs in ones capabilities to organize and execu te the courses of action required to produce given attainments (Bandura, 1997, p.3). Implicit in this definition is the notion that people are active, agentic contributors, rather than solely determiners or recipients of what actually happens to them. People are simultaneously agents and objects at once acting on the environment and reflecting and acting on themselves. Self-efficacy is ones sense of competence and confidence for a given task in a given domain. It is neither a global se lf-evaluation nor a static, fixed entity. It is dynamic and malleable, subject to changes in ta sk demands, situational determinants, social context, and individual devel opment. (Berry & West, 1993, p.353) There are four primary sources of self-efficacy. Enactive mastery experiences, which serve as indicators of capabil ity; vicarious experience, whic h alters efficacy beliefs via transmission of competence and comparison with attainments of others; verbal persuasion and social influences that communicate to the individu al that he or she has certain capabilities; and physiological and affective states, from which i ndividuals judge their own capability, strength, and vulnerability to dysfunction (Bandura, 1993). Any given influence may operate at any time via one or more of these sources. Of these multiple sources, perceived self-efficacy is most readily strengthened through dire ct, mastery experiences, termed enactive mastery, where people actively master particular be havioral domains, rather th an observing others successes vicariously. 9

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Bandura describes four behavioral steps that humans engage in during their daily transactions: analyze a situation, consider alternate courses of action, judge one s ability to carry out this action successfully (self-efficacy), and fina lly, estimate the results such actions are likely to produce. Based on judgments de rived from these estimates, pe ople act and later reflect on how well their thoughts served them in managing the given event, then make changes to their thinking accordingly. In this way, individuals level of motivation, affective states and actions are based more on what they believe than on what is objectively true, with self-efficacy beliefs playing the central role in the link between beliefs and behavior. Fundamental to self-efficacy theory is the notion of Triadic Reciprocal Causation (see figure 1). The person (P), environment (E), and beha vior (B) each interact and affect each other bidirectionally. Figure 1-1. Reciprocal Determinism (Bandura, 1986; Pajares, 1996) Each set of determinants has varying amount s of influence depending on the activity and circumstances. Furthermore, causal factors ta ke different amounts of time in exerting their influence. Berry & West (1993) have called this a feedback loop, to describe the circularity of motion through which past performances influence fu ture judgments of self-efficacy that, in turn, 10

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influence future performance. Performance and its appraisal feed into subsequent judgments of self-efficacy. Cervone, Jiwani, & Wood (1991) have further substantiated this model, showing the unique and independent contribution of self-e fficacy to performance, even after controlling for prior performance accomplishments and ability. Positive performance associated with higher self-efficacy suggests the opposite is also true, that is, poor self-efficacy impedes or has a negative impact on performance (Welch & West, 1995; Artistico, Cervone, & P ezzuti, 2003; Pajares, 1996). Diminished efficacy beliefs can often lead to performance debilitation (Bandura, 2001; Rejeski, Miller, Foy, Messier, & Rapp, 2001; Zeldin & Pajares, 2000). Those who doubt their capa bilities in particular domains of activity shy away from difficult tasks in those domains, thus limiting their future opportunities for mastery. This can lead to feelings of stress and depres sion. People who possess attributes that are socially disparaged, and who accep t the stereotyped negative evaluation of others will hold themselves in low regard irrespective of their talents (Bandura, 1997, p.13). For example, older adults may buy in to the notion th at any instance of forgetting may be a sign that they are, in fact, going senile, even if their memory ab ility is objectively unimp aired. Conversely, those who have strong beliefs in their capabilities view difficult tasks as challenging opportunities for mastery, as opposed to threats to avoid. According to Bandura (1997), an efficacious outlook enhances performance accomplishments, reduces stre ss, and lowers vulnerability to depression (p.39). While specific skills may facilitate performan ce, they are not the primary concern of selfefficacy. Rather, what is esse ntial is what you believe you ca n do with what you have under a variety of circumstances. Self-efficacy and comp etence, though related, are independent from one another. According to Bandur as model, human competence mani fests itself diversely rather 11

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than uniformly across various activity domains People develop different patterns of competence and deploy them selectively depending on the match of specific efficacy beliefs to environmental demands and anticipated outcome s (Bandura, 1997, p.15). What if competence is objectively lacking? Evidence suggests that building self-efficacy is more important than building particular skills (Asa nte, Brintnell, & Gross, 2007). This is not to suggest that compensating for lacking skills is an easy task. Rather, self-efficacious in dividuals are able to display consistent effort, even when conf ronting obstacles and impediments to peak performance. Higher self-efficacy translates into the capacity and willingness to put forth and sustain such effort. Through this self-regulatory function, self-efficacy plays a stronger role in achieving performance attainments than doe s inherent capacity (Bandura, 1986). Self-efficacy is commonly misconceived as inte rchangeable with similar concepts such as self -concept and self-esteem. Self -concept is more global and differs from self-efficacy in that it does not consider domain differences, different leve ls of task difficulty within one particular domain, or different situationa l or contextual circumstances, any of which may affect selfefficacy judgments. Similarly, self-esteem refers to more global judgments of selfworth whereas self-efficacy pertains to personal capability It is quite possible for individuals to judge themselves inefficacious in a particular domai n without suffering any corresponding loss of selfesteem if they do not invest their self-worth in that domain (Bandura, 1986, 1997). For example, the self-esteem or self-concept of individuals deficient in reading or arithmetic skills will not necessarily be adversely affected if these individuals measure their worth by other areas, such as their singing or athletic ability. As long as they are satisfied with these two areas (singing/athletics), such indi viduals may overlook or be unaff ected by difficulties elsewhere (reading/arithmetic). 12

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Conversely, for people concerned with their r eading and arithmetic skills, and aware that they cannot hold a key nor catch a football, the opposite could hold true. Singing and athletic ability will not matter, so long as they are cont ent with their reading and arithmetic. Consistent with these examples, perceived self-efficacy accura tely predicts the personal goals individuals set for themselves and their co rresponding performance attainment s. Self-esteem, on the other hand, does not affect personal goals or performance (Mone, Baker, & Jeffries, 1995). Suffice it to say there is neither conceptual nor empirical justification for constr uing self-worth globally, nor is self-esteem the generalized embodiment of specific efficacy beliefs (Bandura, 1997, p.12). Self-Efficacy: Aging and Memory One segment of the population for which self-efficacy may be particularly relevant is older adults. As people age, they often witne ss, first hand, changes that can affect them both physically and psychologically. Increased longevity can bring with it many benefits and challenges. However, youth-oriented societie s, such as the United States, continuously communicate anti-aging messages regarding inevita ble age-related losses, while minimizing or completely ignoring the concomitant gains. Does the perpetual reinforcement of ageist stereotypes affect older adults self-efficacy? According to Ba ndura and others, the answer is yes. As the following illustration demonstrates these social messages may be internalized by older adults (e.g., Rahhal, Ha sher, & Colcombe, 2001). Let us consider a common example. An elderly woman meets someone she knows at a social event and is unable to recall that person s name. Aside from being embarrassed, she may become exceedingly discouraged and unsure of hers elf, concerned that she is losing it. Attributing this memory lapse to an overall deficit in memory capab ility, rather than an isolated instance of forgetfulness, the older adult may suffer a reduction in self-efficacy, which, in turn, 13

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may decrease the likelihood of attending such ev ents in the future, due to fear of similar embarrassment. Scenarios such as these, in wh ich individuals happen to perform poorly, can, in themselves, come to activate a sense of incompet ence that impairs future performance in those particular contexts (Bandura, 1997, p.18). Though subtle, it is important to acknowledge that while successful mastery experiences can lead to positive performance and increased confidence, failure can similarly contribute to nega tive performance and decreased confidence. Because of the expectation (among both young a nd older adults) that memory declines in late life, older adults may explain each lapse of memory as further evidence of age-related cognitive decline while younger indi viduals free of such expectat ions can and do attribute the same lapses to other phenomena unrelated to declin e, such as low interest, stress, or distraction. Gerontologists have referred to this as the age-based double st andard, and have noted its influence on memory in particular (Zarit et al., 1981; Erber, 1999; Erber et al., 1996; Erber et al., 1992; Erber & Rothberg, 1991; Erber et al., 1990). Therefore, it seems feasible that memory self-efficacy (MSE) could plummet in older adults who blame aging for all their memory lapses. Does MSE vary by age? In their comprehens ive review of the literature, Berry & West (1993) found strong converging evidence for a poorer sense of MSE in older adults relative to young adults. This has been observed across severa l different types of measures including MSE factor scores derived from the Metamemory in Adulthood questionnai re (Cavanaugh & Poon, 1989; Hertzog, Dixon, & Hultsch, 1990; Hultsch, Hertzog, Dixon, & Davidson, 1988), single item self-efficacy predictions for memory ta sks (Hertzog et al., 1990; Rebok & Balcerak, 1989), and multilevel, task-specific measures of MSE st rength & level (Berry et al., 1989; West et al., 2002; West & Yassuda, 2004; West et al., 2005). 14

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In a set of analyses examining the convergence of two metamemory questionnaires, the Metamemory in Adulthood questionnaire (M IA) and the Memory Functioning Questionnaire (MFQ), Hertzog, Hultsch, & Dixon (1989) employed c onfirmatory factor an alysis to identify a distinct Memory Self-Efficacy (MSE) factor. Th e authors administered both questionnaires to two samples, each of which was broken down further into younger and older subsamples. The seven subscales from the Metamemory in A dulthood (MIA) instrument (Dixon & Hultsch, 1983, 1984) contained 108 items, in a 5-point Likert response format. Hert zog et al. (1987) previously reported that the MIA scales of Capacity, Change, Anxiety, and Locus all loaded on a dimension interpreted as Memory Self-Efficacy. The Me mory Functioning Questionnaire (MFQ), developed by Gilewski et al. (1983; see Gilewski & Zelinski, 1986) contained 64 items, in a 7point Likert format, tapping multiple dimensi ons of metamemory, with a primary focus on memory problems and frequency of forgetting in specific domains (e.g., forgetting appointments). The authors posited that when in dividuals self-report incide nts of forgetting, they do not simply perform an exhaustive retrieval se arch of memory for forgetting episodes, rather, they first access beliefs about th eir memory self-efficacy and then convert these beliefs into a frequency estimate. Based on this logic, they hypothesized that the MFQ also contains scales that might be included within the self-efficacy category, primarily those related to the frequency of forgetting dimension. Incidents of forge tting are undoubtedly a source of information that individuals use to create and update memory se lf-efficacy beliefsthe actual frequency of forgetting is likely to be a proximal determinan t of memory self-efficacy. (Hertzog, Hultsch, & Dixon, 1989). Most relevant among the authors findings was that age was a significant predictor of MSE. As individua ls grow older and perceive mo re change in memorythey are 15

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also more likely to report lower MSE, resul ting in an increased co rrelation between these factors. (Hertzog et al., 1989, p. 699). More recently, West & Yassuda (2004) exam ined the interplay of goal setting, sense of memory control, memory performance, and memo ry beliefs. Their guiding principle was the higher probability that those with high MSE and internal control beliefs, more often than not, younger adults, would perform well without external encouragemen t from goals, whereas older adults, typically lower in MSE and memory control beliefs, are more easily discouraged and less likely to perform well without goals to motivate them. The study sample was comprised of older adult community dwellers and students. Memo ry beliefs, control beliefs, and MSE were assessed, and participants completed a shopping list recall. As in the earlier study mentioned above, younger adults had significantly higher MSE th an the older adults. They also showed significantly better memory performance. Perhaps the most consistent evidence of the MSE-memory performance correlation among older adults has been found by West and her colleagues (West, Thorn, & Bagwell, 2003; West & Yassuda, 2004; West, De nnehy-Basile, & Norris, 1996; West, Bagwell, & DarkFreudeman, 2005), who have examined it in rela tion to goal setting. West, Thorn and Bagwell (2003) had college students and older adults co mplete the MSEQ and then perform a shopping list recall for several trials, with or without a goal and feedback on perfor mance. After the last trial, participants completed the MSEQ again. The authors found that MSE was significantly lower among the older adults. In a regression with final trial MSE as the dependent variable and age, education, health, goal condition, and percenta ge correct as the indepe ndent variables, only age and percentage correct were significant predictors of MSE. After substituting gain scores (improvement across trials) for percentage correct age was the strongest significant predictor of 16

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MSE. In a second study to partia lly replicate and extend these fi ndings, the authors administered the MSEQ after baseline but not before. Again, recall performance and MSE were significantly higher among younger adults than older adults. As in the first study, the authors regressed MSE on the same independent variables. In order, percentage correct, age, and goal condition were significant predictors. After replacing percentage correct with gain scores, age, once again, was the strongest predictor of final trial MSE. In a study primarily concerned with the eff ects of different types of feedback, West, Bagwell, and Dark-Freudeman (2005) compared the use of individualized goals and positive or objective feedback to a control group having no goals and no fee dback. A sample of college students and community dwelling older adults completed a shopping list recall and items from the MSEQ-4 (West et al., 2003) Participant memory beliefs, goal commitment, and shopping list recall were measured as well. Again, th e authors found younger adults scored significantly higher on recall and MSE than did the older adults. In a multivariate analysis comparing beliefs measured at baseline and after the goal manipulation, the effects of age were significant, with older adults showing lower self -ratings than younger adults. Is this lower MSE among older adults probl ematic? While mastery experiences increase self-efficacy, age-related memory changes, social stereotypes, and mastery-reducing experiences act to lower it. Theoretically, a reduction in self-efficacy will have negative behavioral consequences, such as avoidance of learning opp ortunities and reduced memory effort (Welch & West, 1995). Such behaviors tend to preclude successful cognitive performance in the future. As cognitive errors increase, social stereotypes le ad the elderly to automatically attribute these failures to age, even though other factors could be responsible (e.g., lack of attention, lack of effort). The personal experiences of older adults can sometimes fail to encourage mastery, and 17

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may even induce further disabili ty, especially in environments with higher pe rcentages of disabled older adults, e.g., nursing homes and hospitals (Welch & West, 1995). Thus, a vicious cycle ensues as the individuals self-efficacy de clines, so does their motivation to maintain independence and self-sufficien cy, leading ultimately to incr eased dependence on others. In areas of skilled competence, such as memory, fa ilure to actively utilize skills can theoretically lead to loss of capability. I w ill now consider empirical evidence for this relationship between MSE and memory performance. The correlation between memory self-evalu ation and memory performance has been examined in several aging studies addressing these issues: Are self-perceptions of memory ability accurate? Does th eir accuracy vary across age? Although a wide ra nge of self-evaluative measures have been utilized in this research, he re I consider the extant research on self-efficacy in particular, and the relationship between MSE and performance (consider ation of more generic self-evaluation assessments occurs in the sec tion on depression and me mory self evaluation). In a mnemonic training study, Rebok and Ba lcerak (1989) allotted younger and older adults to four different groups ; training/feedback, training/no feedback, no training/feedback, and no training/no feedback. The authors assessed self-efficacy with a single-item confidence measure, patterned after Bandura and Adams (1977). Participants rated th e strength of their expectations to recall 12 words and 12 digits in their exact order on a 100-poi nt probability scale, ranging in 10-point intervals from 10 (not sure) to 100 (real sure). The highest number circled on the scale was used as a measure of self-efficac y strength (SEST). They were also asked to predict the number of words (out of 12) and digits (out of 12) they felt they would be able to remember in exact order (self-efficacy level or SEL). Younger adults outperformed older adults 18

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both preand post-training and both groups were inaccurate in predicting their respective performance. Both SEST and SEL were hi gher among younger adults than older adults. Berry et al. (1989) conducted three studies to demonstrate the validity and reliability of their memory self-efficacy que stionnaire (MSEQ). Though the authors primary aim was to show the psychometric strength of their measur e, their findings direc tly pertain to the MSEperformance relationship. The sample in the first study was comprised exclusively of older adults, each of whom completed the MSEQ, and then performed ei ght memory tasks. Four of the tasks were considered laborat ory in nature; word recall, r ecall of directions for drawing a path through a maze, digit recall, and recall of line drawings. The other four were considered more familiar, everyday tasks; remembering a sick friend's grocery list, map directions to a friend's house, telephone numbers, and object locations in a room The second study examined a sample of undergraduate students. The final study examined a sample of both young and older adults, each of whom completed an alternate form of the MSEQ Across studies, the authors found a significant relationship between MSE and pe rformance variables for the everyday tasks more often than for the laboratory tasks. In a later study, this pattern of better prediction for everyday tasks was repeated (West, Dennehy-Basile, & Norris, 1996). Hertzog, Dixon, & Hultsch (1990) used structural regression models to address the nature and degree of relationships between memory predic tions and memory performance. Participants, ranging in age from 20 79 years old, predicte d their performance and then completed two different memory tasks: free recall of words (nou ns from multiple taxonomic categories) and free recall of narrative texts. Before each memory task, participants in the memory prediction condition were given a brief description of the task, and fi ctitious normative performance data, after which they were asked to predict their ow n performance. They completed this prediction19

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performance sequence three separate times. Though many measures were administered, including most subscales from the MIA (Di xon & Hultsch,1983, 1984), the two specifically intended to tap participant MSE were the MIA-Ca pacity scale, and the Frequency of Forgetting scale from the MFQ (Gilewski et al., 1983; see G ilewski & Zelinski, 1986). As expected, older participants showed si gnificantly lower recall than did younge r participants. MIA Capacity and MFQ Frequency of Forgetting scales, both of which have been shown to relate primarily to MSE (Hertzog et al., 1989), and MIA Ch ange, correlated significantly with word and text recall predictions. However, additional MIA and other scales were not significantly correlated with performance predictions. Age and memory perf ormance had no direct influence on word recall prediction when controlling for MSE. The author s interpretation was that age differences in predictions may be mediated by age differences in MSE. What can be concluded from these findings? It appears that adults, young and old, are often inaccurate when assessing their own memory pe rformance ability. In fact, in an objective consideration of the literature, one would have to conc lude that the results are mixed, at best, regarding the MSE-performance relationship. What accounts for this? One possibility may involve methodology. Common to these studies has been the tendency to combine participants, irrespective of their age, when analyzing the data. If memo ry performance has different meaning and importance for different age groups, this approach may be problematic. Though it is difficult to find longitudinal studies providing empirical proof, some have suggested that memory becomes more personally relevant as adults age (Lowenthal et al., 1967; Kahn, 1975). Studies by Dixon and Hultsch (1983) and Cavanaugh et al. (1983), have f ound that older adults say that memory is important to them, rate them selves as having an adequate memory, but still report more instances of memory failure than do younger adults. Memory seems to be 20

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disproportionately salient for ol der adults. This greater salie nce is further supported by Poon (1985) who found that 80% of older adults' cognitiv e complaints are memory-related. It may be that inflated concerns about memory perfor mance among older adults make it a domain of function where beliefs hold more sway (Seeman et al., 1996). Why is this greater salience re levant? Logically, increased salience tends to translate into increased sensitivity and awareness. In additi on to inhibiting memory performance (Rahhal, Hasher, & Colcombe, 2001), such acute sensitivit y to memory lapses may, in turn, result in overestimates of the frequency with which forg etting occurs (Ohara et al., 1986; Sugar and McDowd, 1992). Empirically, this could lead to distorted memory self-assessment and impaired performance; and emotionally, it could lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy of continuous memory decrement. The disproportionate salience of memory for older as opposed to younger adults suggests that any inconsistent results men tioned earlier regarding the MSE-performance association may be an artifact of grouping these two populations together. By not separating old from young, potentially meaningf ul MSE-performance correlations for older adults may have been obscured. Depression and Memory As shown above, competence and ability, espe cially in the domain of memory, become increasingly sensitive issues for people as they age. It stands to reason th at declines in these and other areas, objective or perceived, can have sobering effects on an individual. Intuition aside, what impact does lowered self-efficacy have on older adults mood and affect? Do mood and affect impact self-efficacy? Regard less of directionality, what role, if any, do these factors play with regard to performance? Of the different affective f actors potentially associated w ith memory performance, past research suggests that depression is the most relevant. Older adults are very familiar with 21

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depression. As much as 15% of older adults may experience subclinical depression (Blazer, 2002) with a chronicity rate of 33% as compared to 10% in younger adults (Cole et al., 1999). Older adults are also more likely than younger adu lts to experience relaps es (Heinze, Villamil, & Cortes, 2002; Reynolds & Kupfer, 1999). To account for this, several theoretical links have been posited. In fact, some have suggested affectiv e factors may be as important in predicting performance as actual capability (Zarit, 1982). The tendency for older people to convince themselves or be convinced by others that they have a problem may be as important a determinant of their daily functioning as objective changes in ability (p. 2). Bandura (1997) conceptualizes SE beliefs as the central mediat or of cognitive, behavioral, and environmental contributors to depression. Even though depression and SE intera ct bidirectionally (see triadic reciprocal causation above), Bandura emphasizes th at depression/low SE cycles begin with the individuals low SE. For exampl e, an individual feels that sh e cannot control the inevitable decline in her ability to remember her weekly luncheon appointments. This then leads her to feel increasingly depressed and hope less, which in turn reduces her motivation to even make appointments. As a result, she sees fewer of her friends for lunch, becomes more isolated, and doubts her abilities (in various domains) even more Given this powerful cycle, it seems quite possible, therefore, that subjective memory re ports by older adults could actually reflect depressed mood masked as low memory ability or cognitive decline. Disentangling these variables is crucial as any of them could adversely affect performance. Empirically, depression and memory were linked decades ago by Kahn et al. (1975) & Gurland et al. (1976), both of whom found signi ficant associations of memory complaints (negative self-evaluation) and de pression. Since then, while researchers have generally agreed that memory complaints are exacerbated in those who are depressed, teas ing out the relationship 22

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between subjective memory complaints, objective memory impairment and depression has proved to be difficult (Riedel-Heller, et al., 1999 ). The presence of depressive symptoms or disorder has been found to correlate with signi ficantly higher levels of memory complaint, (Collins & Abeles, 1996; OConner et al., 1990; Grut, Jorm, & Fratig lioni, 1993; Schofield et al., 1997) and various measures of cognitive decline (P aterniti et al., 2002; Wilson et al., 2002). For example, Zarit (1982) found that while age was i nversely correlated with memory performance scores, older persons did not report more memory problems (complaints). Further, memory performance accounted for 22% of the explained va riance in subjective memo ry complaints, this figure nearly doubled (38%) after adding depressi on to the prediction model, suggesting that self-assessment of memory may be more strongly correlated with mood than performance Though fewer in number, other studies, however have found the opposite pattern, with those who complained actually performing better on ob jective memory tests than those who did not (Kahn et al., 1975; Williams et al., 1987). Several studies focusing on memory traini ng have sought to understand how depression might fit in the equation. Best et al. (1992) in a comparison of training interventions, found those in one group showed a si gnificant reduc tion in memory complaints with little corresponding effect on performance, while those in a second group showed improved performance, but with little co rresponding reduction in complaints Further, depression was not related to complaints for either group (though it should be noted that the sample was largely nondepressed). From these data it appears that memory complaints do not necessarily reflect nor predict deficient memory performance. Scogin et al. (1985) found that mnemonic trai ning led to improvement in most memory performance tasks, but had little impact on complaints and none on depression. Both high and 23

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low complainers were similar in terms of performance and depression. Zarit and colleagues (1981) found that older adults reduced memory co mplaints after training, even if performance did not improve. Despite complaint reduction, there was no significant association between complaints and performance or depression both be fore and after training. Change in affective status, but not performance, was related to le ssened complaints, suggesting performance may have been more powerfully associated w ith depression (Zarit et al., 1981). The equivocal findings re garding the interrelationships of depression, memory complaints, and memory performance are puzzling, es pecially given that complaining itself is a symptom of depression and it has been shown that memory complaints can resolve if depression lifts (Plotkin et al. 1985 ). Clearly, navigating through the interplay of these variables is complex, and empirical attempts to do so have yielded in conclusive results. It does appear safe to conclude that the link between depression and memory complain ts is more strongly supported empirically than either the association of depr ession with performance, or complaints with performance. Before leaving the topic of depression and memory, it is important to note that few of these studies have used clinical methodology to diagnose depression. Depression has been measured with a variety of scales (e.g., Beck Depression Inventory, Zung Depression Scale, Geriatric Depression Scale), and di agnostic criteria. Most of th e extant literature focuses on samples consisting of few, if any, participants diagnosed with major depression. Rather, it has focused on more general reports of depressive sy mptomatology. This is a subtle but important distinction between general depressive symptoms (e.g., I sometimes feel blue) and more specific diagnostic criteria (e.g., major depressive disord er). Items aiming to tap general depression and items tapping general memory complaints, may capture how an individual feels about him or 24

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herself in general, rather than an individuals confidence in hi s or her ability to perform a specific task. Given this important methodol ogical nuance in the depression and memory literature, it is unclear how depre ssive symptomatology will relate to specific measures of MSE. Further exploration of this path is one of the goals of this rese arch. Some of the aforementioned complexity may be related, in part, to meas urement issues; which are discussed next. Self-Efficacy Measurement Issues Whereas Banduras conceptualization of self-efficacy has garnered widespread acceptance, firmly establishing how self-effi cacy should be measured, has proven more challenging. There is no approach to effi cacy measurement that is 100% accepted, therefore measurement issues are important when addressi ng the role of efficacy and depression in memory performance. So how should self-efficacy be measured? Bandura distinguishes between global omnibus measures and domain-specific measures, the latter being pr eferable when the goal of research is to maximize the predictive vali dity of self-efficacy re lative to performance attainments. (Berry & West, 1993, pp. 354-5) Efficacy beliefs should be measured in terms of particularized judgments of capability that ma y vary across realms of activity, under different levels of task demands within a given act ivity domain, and under different situational circumstances (Bandura, 1997, p.42). In terms of measurement, Bandura stipulates the following: A well-defined and thorough conceptual analysis of the activity domain of interest (i.e., memory), its requisite capa bilities (i.e., free reca ll, recognition, serial recall), and the range of circumstances under which these capabilities may be applied. (i.e., supermarket, post office). He argues that particularized efficacy beliefs ar e most predictive because they guide which activities are undertaken and how well they are performed (Bandura, 1997, p.40). This emphasis on specificity has been supported empi rically, as the following examples illustrate. 25

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In two studies with college students, Wang and Richarde (1988) sought to demonstrate that self-efficacy was a state not a trait variable. In their first st udy, the authors compared taskspecific measures of self-efficacy with Tipton & Worthingtons (1984) measure of generalized self-efficacy, consisting of items addressing expe ctations of performance competence across a range of activities (e.g., I am a very determined person, I can succeed at most any endeavor to which I set my mind ). Modified after Bandura & Schunk (1 981), the task-specific scale included six performance tasks for which participants assesse d their ability on a 10-poi nt Likert scale (1 = not sure 10 = very sure). Among the results of a principl e components analysis was a bipolar factor for general self-efficacy scores and task-s pecific measures, with heavy factor loadings in opposite directions. This finding suggests that they were measuring opposing aspects of the same construct (Wang & Richarde, 1988). In their second study, Wang and Richarde (1988) focused specifically on the relationship between task-specific measures and performance. All particip ants were pretested on taskspecific self-efficacy for mathematical tasks, af ter being shown examples of such tasks for 2 seconds. They were asked to rate their certaint y of correctly performing such tasks on the same task-specific scale used in the first study. Follo wing this pretest, the experimental group was given a few minutes to perform the tasks, and th en was posttested for both task-specific efficacy and general efficacy. A control group followed th e same pretest-posttest protocol yet was not given the opportunity to perform the tasks. Results showed that while both groups were statistically equivalent on measur es of generalized self-efficacy a nd the pretest measures of taskspecific self-efficacy, only the experimental gr oups posttest task-specifi c self-efficacy ratings correlated significantly with performance. A lthough pretest task-specific self-efficacy did not predict performance in this case, the authors attr ibute this to the brief 2 second exposure to the 26

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tasks, which may not have allowed participants time to adequately appraise their self-efficacy. More importantly, the authors conc luded from both studies that ge neral and task-specific scales assess distinctly different aspects of the efficacy construct. More recently, Earley and Lituchy (1991) conducted several studies examining the relationship between self-efficacy and goal setting among college students. In the first study, participants were assigned to one of two groups varying in goal difficulty (easy = complete 80 math problems in 30 minutes, challenging = co mplete 200 math problems in 30 minutes). Consistent with Banduras notion, task-specific self-efficacy was assessed via participant selfratings for five performance levels 80, 110, 140, 170, and 200 math problems. Participants were then asked what their personal goal was, regardless of the assigned goal. The 17-item General Achievement subscale of Scherer et al. s (1982) self-efficacy scale was used to measure generalized self-efficacy, referred to as trait efficacy by the authors. They also assessed valence, or participants pred icted level of satisfaction were they to achieve their goal. Before the authors controlled for the influe nce of personal goals, task-specific selfefficacy and performance valence accounted for 44% of the variance in performance. However, when ability and personal goals were contro lled for, performance valence was no longer significantly related to performance, although se lf-efficacy was still significant. Conversely, generalized self-efficacy did not significantly cont ribute to performance when it was entered into a regression equation after accountin g for personal goals, task-specific self-efficacy, performance valence, and goal condition. These results were replicated in two subsequent studies with different activities one involving successful performance on a computer game, the other, a field study examining business students academic pe rformance during a regular semester. The authors concluded that generalized self-effi cacy had no effect on performance in the two 27

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laboratory studies and made an e quivocal contribution in the fiel d study, while task-specific selfefficacy proved a superior predictor of perfor mance. They argued that the weak and null findings for performance valence and trait efficacy call into question th e necessity of these constructs for the prediction of pe rformance (Earley & Lituchy, 1991, p.96). Clearly, Banduras case for using specific self-efficacy has been supported by others. However, Schwarzer and colleagues have favored the measurement of a broader construct of general self-efficacy (Schwarzer & Fuchs, 1996; Scholz et al., 2002; Luszczynska, Scholz, & Schwarzer, 2005), which they liken to optimistic self-belief. A n open question refers to the optimal degree of specificity or generality of the self-efficacy constructAlthough there is nothing wrong with more and more specificity, ther e still exist generalized measures that have considerable predictive value (S chwarzer & Fuchs, 1996, p.186). Schwarzer and Jerusalem (1995) first deve loped their General Perceived Self-Efficacy Scale (GSE) to measure personal agency, that is the extent to which one believes his or her actions are responsible for successful outcomes, in any domain. Their original aim was to predict coping with daily hassles and ad aptation in the face of stressf ul life events. More recently, Schwarzer and his colleagues have focused extens ively on health behavior in general. Their results indicate that both general and specific self -efficacy have unique predictive value, that is, results obtained from one do not imply similar results from the other (Luszczynska, Scholz, & Schwarzer, 2005). In light of this, Schwarzer and others (e.g., Cervone 1997) have called for direct comparison of both general and specific se lf-efficacy measures; a call that except for the studies presented here, has largely gone unheeded. Current Study Informed by the data cited thus far, the cu rrent study has several primary aims. First, I will consider the relationship of memory performance to different types of self-efficacy-28

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domain-specific and general--to compare their respective predicti ve power. To my knowledge, this is the first head-to-head empirical comparis on of general and specific efficacy measures with respect to prediction of memory performance. Because self-efficacy beliefs can vary in importance and relevance over the course of life as a function of the individual salience of a given domain at a particular point in time (Bandura, 1997; Berry & West, 1993), and because memory appears to hold more salience for the older population, the current research focuses on a sample of community-dwelling elders with an expr essed interest in memory. In addition, this research explores the potential effects of depression on memory performance; a link that has been theoretically posited, but whose empirical s upport, to date, has been inconclusive. Finally, in analyzing each variable of interest, there will also be a focus on potential age differences among the older cohort. The curre nt sample, comprised of partic ipants aged 50 90 years old, offers a fairly broad age sample in which to do this. Hypotheses 1. Banduras theoretical concepts, supported by th e empirical examples above, lead to the conclusion that specific self-efficacy, as opposed to general self-efficacy, will be the strongest predictor of performa nce. It is therefore hypothesi zed that older adult memory performance will be more robustly correlated with memory self-efficacy than general self-efficacy. 2. It is hypothesized that as age increases, there will be a concomitant increase in predictive power of MSE on memory performance. Across psychological and gerontological research, the common classifi cation of older adults may be somewhat misleading. Though some have broken this demographic down into old and oldest-old (i.e., >85yrs.), or young-old (<70 yrs.) and oldold, more often than not, th e older adult population has been considered together in a relatively unsystematic way. Doing this may mask the 29

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30 potential heterogeneity of this population. Th is becomes most relevant when considering the theoretical increase in salience of memory over time. If such increased salience leads to increased awareness and sensitivity, it is likely that MSE will assume an increasingly important role vis--vis memory pe rformance as adults grow older. 3. In light of theory and the mixed results linking depression and memory, it is hypothesized that depression will not be as strong a pr edictor of memory performance as MSE.

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CHAPTER 2 MATERIALS AND METHODS Participants were 193 community dw elling older adults (ages 54 to 92, M = 70.5) from north central Florida, recruite d to participate in memory tr aining. Demographic data were captured, including age, gender, marital status, race, education leve l, and subjective health (1 = excellent health 10 = very poor health ). Participants were prim arily Caucasian (97%, n = 187) and female (74%, n = 143). Basic ability m easures were administered, including the Digit Symbol subscale of the Wechsler Adult Intel ligence Scale-Revised (WAI S; Wechsler, 1981) and The Shipley-Hartford Vocabulary Test (Shipley, 1940). Sample characteris tics are reported in Table 2-1. Memory Self-Efficacy Memory self-efficacy was assessed with a short version of the Memory Self-Efficacy Questionnaire (MSEQ-4; West et al., 2003) The MSEQ-4 is a 20-item self-report measure of memory self-efficacy for distinct memory tasks. These tasks are name recall (e.g., If someone showed me the photographs of X people and told me their names once, I could identify Y persons by name if I saw the pictures again a few minutes later) remembering items from a grocery list (e.g., If I heard it twice, I could remember X items fr om a friends grocery list of Y items, without taking any list with me to the store ), remembering main points fr om a story, and remembering the locations of household items. Individuals in dicate their confidence le vel for performing each of these tasks at varying difficulty levels, responding on a scale from 0 (I cannot do it) to 100 ( 100% sure I can do it ). The dependent measure is self-efficacy strength, calculated as the average confidence rating across all items. The MSEQ is a valid and reliable measure of selfefficacy strength (Berry et al., 1989 ) and internal consistency reliab ility in this sample was high ( = .88). 31

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General Self-Efficacy General self-efficacy was assessed with Schwarzer & Jerusalems (1995) Generalized Self-Efficacy Scale (GSE). This is a 10-item que stionnaire that asks respondents to indicate on a 4-point Likert scale (1 = not at all true 4 = exactly true), how applicable each statement is to them. Statements include I can always manage to solve d ifficult problems if I try hard enough, If I am in trouble, I c an usually think of a solution, and I can usually handle whatever comes my way. This scale has shown good validity and reliability in past research (Luszczynska, Gutirrez-Doa, & Schwarzer, 2005) and, in this sample, the full scale score showed acceptable leve ls of internal consistency reliability ( = .83). Memory Performance Shopping list. Participants were given a list of wo rds to study from, then after varying time intervals, they were instructed to write down as many words as they could recall from memory, without the list. Two ve rsions of a partially categori zed shopping list were developed (West, Welch, & Thorn, 2001), and participants were randomly assigned to receive one of these two lists. Each list contained 15 items, and participants were allotted one minute to study the items, and up to 4 minutes for recall. This was experimenter-paced. Half of the items on the list were categorizable. The number of correct item s recalled was used as the dependent measure. Names. Participants were shown 3 pages of h eadshot photographs (4 per page) with a first name under each photograph. Two versions of 12 faces and names were developed and assigned randomly to participants. For both versio ns, the faces were balanced for age, ethnicity, and gender so that each page of four photographs represented at least two different ages, two ethnicities, and both genders. Participants were given 1 minute to study and 4 minutes to recall the names. Once the study time elapsed, partic ipants turned the page and saw the same photographs with blank bubbles under neath, in which they were inst ructed to fill in the proper 32

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names that matched each photograph. The number of correct names recalled was used as the dependent measure. Depression Depression was assessed using the SF-36 Health Survey (Ware, Jr., 1993), a commonly used measure of overall health, with high vali dity and reliability (McHorney, Ware, Lu, & Sherbourne, 1994). A scale of five item s was used to assess depressed mood (e.g., Have you been a very nervous person?, Have you felt so down in the dumps that nothing could cheer you up?, Have you felt calm and peaceful?, Have you felt downhearted and blue?, Have you been a happy person?), following the specifications in the design of the SF-36 (Ware Jr., 1993). Respondents indicated on a 6point Likert scale (1 = all of the time 6 = none of the time) how often they experienced symptoms in the previous four weeks. This scale has been shown to effectively measure depression (Beusterien, St einwald, & Ware Jr., 1996; Elliott, Renier, & Palcher, 2003). Though a subset of a larger heal th scale, there was good internal consistency among these items ( = .83). Other Measures A number of other measures were examined in the primary research from which these data were taken, including The Need for Cognition Scale ( Cacioppo & Petty, 1982), subscales of Locus, Anxiety, and Achievement from the Metamemory in Adulthood (MIA) questionnaire (Dixon, & Hultsch, 1984), story reca ll, strategy checklists, a second set of recall trials, other SF36 items, and an assessment of daily activities. These questionnaires ar e not relevant to the purpose of this research and will not be considered further. 33

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34 Table 2-1. Sample Characteristics Variable N M SD Age Years of Education General Self-Efficacy Memory Self-Efficacy Vocabulary Level Depression Memory Performance (List Recall) Memory Performance (Name Recall) 197 70.32 7.60 197 15.32 2.97 198 30.74 3.62 193 46.86 16.53 145 33.45 5.61 196 24.93 3.60 195 9.50 2.31 195 4.80 2.78

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CHAPTER 3 RESULTS Overview Tests of each hypothesis were conducted with multiple linear regression models. To ensure that these analyses were stable and unbiased, multicollinearity was analyzed and the resulting diagnostics showed acceptable tolerance levels (.84 .97) for all key variables. Examination of the measures showed normal dist ribution of all variables except for depression which was skewed (skewness = -1.30, kurtosis = 1.37), likely due to relatively low levels of depressive symptoms within the sample. Normality statistics were all within an acceptable range according to most conventions (e.g., Field, 2005). Hypothesis I Hypothesis I was tested using a simultane ous linear regression analysis, directly comparing the two independent predictor variab les, general self-efficacy as measured by the GSE (Schwarzer & Jerusalem, 1995) and memory self-efficacy as measured by the MSEQ-4 (West et al., 2003). Separate analyses were conducted for both list and name recall (memory performance). Overall, both models were significant, F (2,190) = 18.09, p <.001, adjusted R = .15 (name); F (2,189) = 7.33, p < .001, adjusted R = .06 (list). However, consistent with the hypothesis, though MSE was si gnificant for both list ( =.22, p < .005) and name ( =.36, p < .001), general self-efficacy was not (both ps>.10). To further understand the relationship betw een general and specific self-efficacy as a predictor of memory performance, the analyses were rerun hier archically with general selfefficacy entered alone first, and MSE added as a second predictor in the second model. As a predictor of name r ecall, both the first [ F (1,191) = 8.23, p < .005, adjusted R = .04] and second models [ F (2,190) = 18.09, p<.001, adjusted R = .15, R change = .12] were significant. Though 35

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general self-efficacy was significant in the first model ( = .20, p < .005), the addition of MSE in the second model rendered genera l self-efficacy non-significant ( =.10, p > .10), while MSE remained significant ( =.36, p <.001). As a predictor of list recall, both the first [ F (1,190) = 5.13, p < .05] and second models [ F (2,189) = 7.33, p < .001, R change = .05] were significant. Again, as with name recall, adding MSE to the overall model rendered general self-efficacy nonsignificant ( = .10, p >.15), while MSE remained significant ( = .22, p < .005). Hypothesis II Hypothesis II was tested with a multiple regression, with age and MSE, and their interaction, included as predictor variables, and memory performanc e as the dependent variable. Centered terms (standardized z-sc ores) were created for both predictors, age and MSE, and these values were multiplied to create an interac tion variable (see Jaccard, Wan, & Turrisi, 1990). Hierarchical regression was run separately for both memory tasks. Consistent with the hypothesis, it was expected that when predicting memory performan ce, the interaction effect of age and MSE would be significant. Confirmation of this would offer indirect evidence of the disproportionate salie nce of memory for older adults. For name recall, MSE and age were first entered simultaneously as predictors. The overall model was significant F (2,196) = 31.31, p <.001, adjusted R = .23. Both age ( = -.31) and MSE ( = .35) were significant (both ps <.001). After including the interaction term, the overall model showed no significant change in R value F (3,195) = 20.78, p <.001, adjusted R = .23, R change = .000. Main effects of MSE ( = .35) and age ( = -.31) remained significant ( p <.001), but the interaction te rm was not significant ( = .01, p >.50). For list recall, MSE and age were entered simultaneously as the first pred ictors. The overall model was significant F (2,195) = 16.60, p<.001, adjusted R = .14 as were main effects of both age ( = -.28, p <.001) and MSE ( = .23, p <.001). Again, after adding the interaction term, the ove rall model was significant 36

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F (3,194) = 11.97, p <.001, adjusted R = .14, R change = .01 as were effects for both age ( = .30, p <.001) and MSE ( = .21, p < .005). The interaction term, however, was not significant ( = .11, p >.10). Hypothesis III Hypothesis III was tested usi ng a hierarchical regression anal ysis with MSEQ-4 score and depression (as measured by items from the SF-36) as the independent variables and memory performance as the dependent variable. Like the tests of hypothesis I, separate analyses were conducted for both list and name recall (memory perf ormance). First, separate regressions were run for each dependent variable with both pred ictors entered simultaneously. Overall, both models were significant, F (2,188) = 17.30, p <.001, adjusted R = .15 (name); F (2,187) = 7.37, p < .001, adjusted R = .06 (list). However, consistent with the hypothesis, MSE was significant for both list ( =.23, p < .001) and name ( =.37, p < .001), but depression was not (p>.10). To further understand the rela tionship of these two variables with memory performance, the analyses were rerun hierarchically with de pression entered first, then MSE, for both name and list recall outcome variables. Depression as the lone predicto r was significant for both name ( =.16, p < .05) and list ( =.14, p <.05) recall. Once MSE was added to the model, depression was no longer a significant pr edictor of either name ( = .095, p > .15, R change = .13) or list ( = .102, p > .15, R change = .05) recall but MSE was (name -= .37, p <.001; list = .23, p<.001). The results of the above analyses demonstrate that in the current sample, age and MSE accounted for nearly 25% of the variance in na me recall scores and approximately 15% of variance in list recall. With age variance removed, MSE uniquely predicted almost 12% of the variance in name and 5% of the variance in list recall performance. To further examine the full 37

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predictive power of MSE, exploratory analyses, described below, were run with MSE and other predictors previously associ ated with memory performan ce (e.g., West, Crook, & Barron, 1992). Exploratory Analyses To investigate just how well MSE stacked up to these and other predictors, an exploratory analysis was later conducted with education and vo cabulary added to the model as potential predictors. All six variables (age, education, voca bulary, depression, general selfefficacy, and memory self-efficacy) were entered simultaneously into the regression and separate analyses were run for both list and name recall Together, these variables contributed to an adjusted R value of .30, F (6,135) = 10.41, p<.001, for name, and an adjusted R value of .13, F (6,134) = 4.50, p<.001. Significant predictors of name recall were age ( = -.29, p <.001), MSE ( = .36 p <.001), and vocabulary ( = .17 p =.028), with MSE as the strongest predictor. Education level, general self-efficacy, and depression were non-significant ( p >.20). Interestingly, the same pattern was not found for predicting list recall. Age remained significant ( = -.28, p < .001), and depression ju st reached significance ( = .17, p = .049). However, the other variables, including MSE ( = .01), were non-significant ( p > .10). Digit symbol tasks, traditionally included when examining working me mory performance, were not completed by all participants in the current study. To avoid potential problems rela ted to sample variation, (i.e. low N for digit symbol), this variable was not in cluded as a possible predic tor. All univariate correlations are indicated in Table 3-1. 38

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Table 3-1. Correlations Between Predic tor and Memory Performance Variables Variable 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1. Memory Performance (List Recall) ** .47** .14* .25** .21** -.31** 0.06 0.14 2. Memory Performance (Name Recall) ** .21** .39** .23** -.34** .25** .15* 3. General Self-Efficacy ** .28** .21** -10 .21* .32** 4. Memory SelfEfficacy ** .28** -0.11 0.13 0.18 5. Education ** -0.11 .21* 0.1 6. Age ** -0.01 0.09 7. Vocabulary ** .17* 8. Depression ** Note ** p<.01, *p<.05 Discussion The current study addressed several inte rrelationships among self-efficacy, age, depression, and memory performance. To the au thors knowledge, this is the first empirical evaluation of task-specific self-efficacys ability to predict performance compared to both general self-efficacy and other potentially importa nt predictor variables within an exclusively older adult sample. As hypothesized, a direct comparison of memory-specific and general selfefficacy resulted in the former accounting for uni que variance, above and beyond that of general self-efficacy, in predicting older adult memory performance. In addition, the current study found that depression by itself significantly predicted memory performance, however, when memory self-efficacy was added to the regression m odel, depression was no longer significant and memory self-efficacy was retained as a significant predictor. Finally, this research afforded the opportunity to test some interesting theoretical questions concerning the salience of memory for an older population. Contrary to the hypothesis, an examinati on of the relationship between MSE and performance, as a function of age, did not find any evidence for the increased salience of MSE with age in this sample. Each of thes e findings will now be c onsidered in detail. 39

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Self-Efficacy As mentioned earlier, this is the first dire ct empirical comparison of task-specific and general self-efficacy within the realm of older a dult memory performance. The finding that taskspecific, but not general self-efficacy, significantl y predicted performance could have promising implications. First, these results may prove valuable for future self-efficacy research and measurement (i.e., scale construction) both in cognitive and non-cognitive (e.g., driving selfefficacy) domains. The current finding provi des empirical support for Banduras (1986, 1997) theoretical notion that as a constr uct, self-efficacy should be measured as particularized beliefs. Often, other related but more gene ral constructs such as self-esteem, self-concept, or general self-efficacy, are posited to directly impact an individuals performance (Schwarzer & Fuchs, 1996). Results from the current study suggest that specific measures of self-efficacy are distinctive from constructs tappi ng general confidence, and are most relevant to performance. Though the results presented here show a clear link between MSE and memory performance empirically, the direct ion of this relationship is le ss apparent and seems open to interpretation. Does performance predict MSE or does MSE predict performance? Theoretically, Banduras concept of triadic reciprocal causation, central to self-efficacy theory, suggests bidirectional interplay of these variable s. However, he also posits a greater likelihood that individuals approach a new task with pre-existing beliefs about their performance ability, and it is these beliefs that imp act successive performances, not vi ce versa. This notion has been corroborated by empirical data from other domains aside from memory. Several studies have employed similar designs to examine the self -efficacy-performance relationship with college students. Results of this research have been comparable to those from the current study. Pajares and Johnson (1993) ut ilized a sample of 30 colle ge students to examine the impact of self-efficacy, both general and task-s pecific, and anxiety (w riting apprehension) on 40

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writing performance. They also investigated any changes in these construc ts over the course of an academic term. The authors results were similar to other empirical evidence (e.g., Siegel, Galassi, & Ware, 1985) and those presented in the current study. General self-efficacy and writing anxiety, though correlated w ith writing (specific) self-e fficacy, did not correlate with writing performance. In fact, though task-specific self-efficacy and performance levels increased throughout the study, anxiety levels remained unchanged. Theoretically, these data seem consistent with Banduras position that in terms of performance, self-efficacy is task-specific, and matters more than mood. In another study wi th college students, Lent, Larkin, and Brown (1986) conducted hierarchical regressions to examine self-esteem, self-efficacy and academic performance. Indices of the performance outco me variable included gr ades and persistence (length of enrollment) measured one year late r. The authors found that self-esteem was not correlated with either self-efficacy measures or performance. More importantly, at the 1-year follow-up, students scoring higher initially in self-efficacy had earned higher grades and remained enrolled longer in the college. Task-specific self-efficacy was responsible for approximately 10% of the variance in academic performance above and beyond measures of actual ability, achievement, and interest. Though these studies utilized young adu lt samples (raising concerns about generalizability), in terms of dir ectionality, these findings lend suppor t to the notion that it is SE that is influencing performance rather than vi ce versa. Perhaps the broadest support for this comes from meta-analyses of mnemonic memory tr aining studies which have consistently shown performance is more easily changed (improved) than subjective memory beliefs (see Floyd & Scogin, 1997; Verhaeghen, Marcoen, & Goosens, 1992). The fact that beliefs (i.e., efficacy) 41

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appear less likely to change, at l east in the short term, suggests that they are more stable and will likely affect, rather than be affected by, performance. In light of the impact of SE over and above that of aging, it app ears neither prudent nor realistic to view memory decline and impaired performance as inevitable and uncontrollable, a common and detrimental thought process in whic h many older adults often find themselves engaging. Rather, as Bandura (1997) repeatedly suggests, it se ems that over time, optimal performance can be influenced directly by working with and believing in what you have, as opposed to worrying about what you have lost. Bandura makes this explicit, as do Floyd and Scogin (1997), who conclude a meta-analysis on s ubjective beliefs as follows. On the basis of the results of this meta-analysis, we recomm end that memory improvement programs place more emphasis on modifying participants' attitudes to ward aging-related memory loss. Effects on subjective aspects of memory are just as impor tant as, and are arguably more important than, objective memory performance change as indicant s of success (p. 160). Theoretically, the most effective way to enhance self-efficacy is through personal or enactive mastery. Such mastery is distinct, however, from mere perf ormance or experience. Mastery is successful performance that occurs over time. Its resulting effect on self-efficacy is gradual and long term. By directly experiencing even relatively moderate achievement s, individuals can gain confidence and build the belief that they can succeed (e.g., West, Ba gwell, & Dark-Freudeman, in press). Future research may seek to replicate the current efficacy-performance findings in other cognitive and non-cognitive domains of human functioni ng and with various age groups. Age Age proved to be significantly associated with memory performance. This is not surprising as most prior research on older adult cognition has shown this trend (Berry & West, 1993, West et al., 2003). The curre nt studys utilization of an ex clusively older adult sample 42

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(ages 54 92yrs.) allowed for a more sensitiv e and specific assessment of the relationship between self-efficacy and memory performance. As mentioned in the literature review, many studies have analyzed both young and old age gr oups, together, potentiall y reducing the impact of SE on performance by including a younger ad ult population for whom memory performance does not necessarily hold particular salience (i.e., Hertzog et al., 1989, 1990). Th eoretically, if SE has a direct effect on performance, then analysis of the memory domain should primarily focus on older adults, for whom memory is posited to be particularly salient. Consistent with this notion, the present study, by excluding younger a dults in the analysis, has both avoided any potential reduction of SE impact on performan ce, and ensured that th e results are directly applicable to and indicative of an older adult population. As mentioned earlier, empirical studies dire ctly demonstrating that memory concerns become more important to people as they age ar e scarce. Age-related salience as a theoretical construct has, however, receiv ed some support (Berry & West, 1983; Lowenthal et al., 1967; Kahn, 1975; Seeman et al., 1996). There is some evidence that the majori ty of older adults' cognitive complaints are memory-related (Poon, 1985) and that older adults rate memory as important, feel their memory is adequate, yet sti ll report more instances of memory failure than do younger adults (Dixon & Hultsch, 1983; Cavanaugh et al., 1983). Intuitively, it seems that as adults age, especially in youth-fo cused, ageist societies, they beco me more aware of their ability and performance, and notice changes, especially in domains in which theyre stereotypically expected (and perhaps expecting) to decline. As such awareness increases, individuals selfbeliefs (efficacy) may become increasingly challenged, and regarding memory, temporary episodes of forgetting may be (mis)perceived as evidence of permanent decline. This can inhibit future memory performance (Rahhal, Hasher, & Colcombe, 2001) and result in overestimates of 43

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how frequently one forgets (OHara et al., 1986 ; Sugar and McDowd, 1992). Empirically, this could lead to distorted memory self-evaluation, and emotionally it could l ead to a self-fulfilling prophecy such that stereotypical expectations be come reality. The current study looked at an exclusively older adult sample which was comparab le to prior studies both in terms of selfefficacy level (e.g.,West & Yassuda, 2004) and memo ry performance (e.g.,West et al., 2005). As mentioned earlier, once age variance was re moved, MSE uniquely predicted almost 12% of the variance in name and 5% of the variance in list recall performance. The value for list recall here is slightly lower than that found in earlier re search with list recall as a dependent measure (see West & Yassuda, 2004). Name recall, however compares more favorably to prior studies (see Hertzog, Dixon, & Hultsch, 1990). It should be reiterated, however, that direct tests of the MSE-performance relationship are scarce, and prior studies have operationalized and measured the MSE construct, and memory performance, in di fferent ways. These factors limit the extent to which comparisons of the current results to earlier research can be made. At the same time, it does not appear that the predictive power of MSE was disproportionately greater for the oldest member s of the studys sample. There are several potential explanations for the fact that this hypothesis wa s not confirmed. First, the samples age range, although not restricted overall, ranging fr om 54 to 92 years, was somewhat limited, with few participants below age 60 and very few aged 85 or above (n = 7). Though cut-off ages for old and oldest-old have been arbitrary and varied across psychologica l literature, many studies classify the latter as 85 years old. It may be that increas ed salience effects do not significantly manifest themselves except in the oldest age rang es. A more effective approach for the future may be to include a more complete age range fr om mid-life to late life, especially since the 44

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current studys examination of age-related increa sed salience in a more limited sample yielded non-significant findings. Additionally, all participants in the current sample expressed interest in memory and memory training as they were recr uited explicitly for that purpose. It seems plausible, therefore, that this may have created a ceiling effect, and not allowed for a diverse or incr easing range of memory salience; that is, memory concerns ma y have been salient for most of the group. Although this explanation is plausible, compar isons to other experi mental studies show comparable MSE strength means and standard devi ations to those reporte d in this sample (e.g., West et al., 1996). Therefore, it appears that the any restriction of MSE in the current sample was minimal. Depression Analysis of depressions potential effect on memory performance and self-efficacy has yielded inconclusive and conflicti ng results (Scogin et al., 1985, Be st et al., 1992). In the current study, depression, as a lone predic tor, was found to be significantly associated with memory performance, however, adding MSE to the regres sion model attenuated this effect such that depression was no longer significant. This fi nding is consistent with others that have demonstrated depressions link to memory complaints (Gurland et al., 1976; Collins & Abeles, 1996; OConner et al., 1990; Grut, Jorm, & Fratiglioni, 1993; Schofield et al., 1997), but not necessarily memory performance. This distin ction is supported further by the significant correlation found between depression and gene ral self-efficacy. T hough not specifically assessing complaints, per se, the general self-effi cacy scale used in the current study is a measure of general mood, tapping how some one is doing (or feeling) overal l. It is not surprising, therefore, that these two variables were significantly correlated. 45

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Though the current study has not de monstrated causality, and the verdict is still out as to whether ameliorating depressive symptoms may e nhance performance, the preponderance of the results presented here suggests that the role of se lf-efficacy is stronger than the role of depression with respect to predicting actua l performance. This is consiste nt with Banduras (1997) emphasis on the stronger role of self-efficacy than depression in explaining performance. Interestingly, exploratory regression analyses includi ng age, education, vocabulary, depression, and general self-efficacy as predictors, in addition to MSE, yielded inconsistent results. Examining name recall as the outcome variable, MSE was a significant predictor but depression was not. However, when examining lis t recall as the outcome variable, the converse was true; depression just reached significance (p =.049), whereas MSE did not. Due to some measurement issues in this resear ch, this finding is likely to be s purious (see limitations section). Memory Performance Depression and general self-efficacy, as lone predictors, were each significantly associated with both name and list recall perfor mance. Once memory self-efficacy was added to each regression model (i.e., depression and memory self-efficacy; general and memory selfefficacy), it was the only significant predictor of memory performance. This was true for both name and list recall. This finding that memory self-efficacy was more robustly associated with both performance variables was expected and co nsistent with the studys hypotheses. Interestingly, there were cases where list recall and name recall appeared to show differential findings, specifically, the predictive power of self-efficacy was stronger for name recall. List and name recall, as outcome measures of me mory performance, may have meaningful, qualitative differences The extant literature provides evidence that name recall is among the most challenging memory tasks, par ticularly for those advancing in age (Crook & West, 1990; Burke, Worthley, & Martin, 1988). One problem with names is that people treat 46

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them merely as labels, devoid of meaningful information (Cohen, 1990, 1996). Therefore, when trying to remember names, people may not access semantic networks, shown to aid in remembering (e.g., Yesavage, Rose, & Bower, 1983), as they might with lists or other types of meaning-based information. Though speculative, it could be that because names are more difficult to recall, MSE has a greater impact on name memory. As an alternative explanation, consider that older adults ar e often sensitive and concerned about their ability to recall peoples names when th ey see them. It seems f easible, therefore, that name recall, more so than ot her types of memory tasks, may arouse affective or emotional mechanisms (i.e., inducing anxiety) and be per ceived as particularly daunting. Mangos and Steele-Johnson (2001) examined SE, performan ce, goal orientation and subjective task complexity. They found that SE and subjective task complexity (i.e. perceived difficulty) were significantly correlated, and the effects of subjective task co mplexity on performance were completely mediated by SE. As mentioned earlier, self-efficacy affect s performance not just through cognitive processes, but also via affective and motivational processes. One of the primary advantages or benefits of high self-efficacy is the willingness and ability to tole rate or even fend off increasing anxiety associated with a give n activity (Bandura, 1986, 1997). Those higher in efficacy may feel better equipped to tolerate task-related anxiety and may remain motivated to persevere while those lower in efficacy may be quicker to lo se motivation, potentially giving up prematurely when facing tasks that are partic ularly intimidating. Older adults sensitivity to and difficulty with name recall tasks, coupled with self-efficacys affective and motivational components, may explain the current finding that MSE was more directly linked to name recall. 47

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Limitations There are several limitations to this study. Ag e, gender, and depression levels were not normally distributed throughout the study sample Though the participants constitute a somewhat large and diverse range of ages (54 92 yrs.), and the age variable was normally distributed within the sample, the sample was limited as discussed earlier. The somewhat restricted nature of the sample may have had a negative impact, particular ly on the studys ability to identify age-related salience of memory (hypothesis 2). The absence of this finding does not negate the possibility that as age increases acr oss the full life span, so does the salience of memory, and investigators may still wish to addr ess this issue, particularly in longitudinal research. The samples distribution of gender was more clearly skew ed, as women (74%) comprised nearly three times as many participants as men (26%). This may be relevant as several studies examining self-efficacy ha ve found lower levels among women (Clark & Nothwehr, 1999; Grembowski et al., 1993; Resnick et al., 2000; Shin et al., 2001). Depression both among older adults (Murrell, Himmelfarb, & Wright, 1983) and across the life span (Piccinelli & Wilkinson, 2000) has also been found to be higher among women. Regarding memory performance, several studies have shown higher performance scores among women (West, Welch, & Knabb, 2002; West, Crook, & Barron, 1992). Though this pattern of lower self-efficacy but higher performance among women s eems potentially relevant, especially given the majority of participants in the present sample were female, the effects of this on the current study are unclear as memory self-efficacy was norm ally distributed here. Regarding gender and age, future research might strive to oversample for male participants and seek fuller age ranges. This seems particularly important as human l ongevity increases and women tend to outlive men in most industrialized nations (Rieker & Bird, 2005). 48

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Depression was assessed in this stu dy with several items from the SF-36, a comprehensive health survey. Though this will ca pture depressive symptoms, it is not a clinical measure, nor is it sufficiently sensitive or thor ough to detect individual s with major depressive disorder. Again, this does not appear problematic given the fact that th is was a relatively highfunctioning, non-depressed sample, where clinical depression was unlikely. Though it is unclear to what extent these results can be generalized to a more depressed popul ation, arguably, the best way to tap into depressive affect in this kind of sample is to examine symptoms. Such an approach has been implemented with divers e community-dwelling older adults across many domains (e.g., Miller, et al., 2004; Ya tes & Dunnagan, 2001; Koropeckyj-Cox, 1998 ). However, a better test for the impact of depression would include participants exhi biting varying degrees of depression, as well as more sensitive and sp ecific assessments capable of assessing these differences. In future research with more highl y depressed participants, more specific measures of depression might be employed such as the Structured Clinical In terview for Depression (SCID; Spitzer et al., 1992), Diagnostic Interview Schedule (DIS; Robins, Helzer, Croughan, & Ratcliff, 1981), or even self-report measures su ch as the Center for Epidemiological Study of Depression Scale (CES-D; Radloff, 1977) or the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI; Beck, Steer, & Garbin, 1988). As mentioned earlier, results of exploratory analyses showing depressions significance and MSEs non-significance in pred icting list recall were surpri sing. MSE showed a significant univariate correlation with list r ecall whereas depression did not. It seems possible, therefore, that the impact of MSE may have been suppr essed by other variables (education and general self-efficacy, with which it correlated significantly) rendering it non-significant. It should be reiterated that despite this appa rent suppressor effect, collineari ty diagnostics fo r all variables 49

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were acceptable. The fact that the sample was skewed toward non-depressed suggests this significant finding may be spurious. The relative ease of the list reca ll task may have allowed for inflated scores for participants, with the exception of those participants reporting depressive symptoms, for whom scores could be quite low. It is also possible that this finding represents sample variations as later participants in th e study did not complete the vocabulary scale, resulting in a much lower N for the exploratory analyses that included vocabulary. Given all of these factors, it is difficult to be confident a bout the accuracy of this finding, thus any further interpretation is speculative. It seems likely th at this resulted more from sample skew than anything else. Future replication with a br oader distribution of de pression and perhaps alternative memory recall measures might be beneficial. Clinical Implications The current results may be directly applie d to interventions and training programs with older adults, designed specifica lly to target and build their memory self-efficacy. MSEs predictive power evidenced here, suggests that aging individuals perceptions and beliefs about their memory may have a direct impact on their subsequent performance. As outlined in the introduction, although specific intervention desi gns can vary, to successfully enhance selfefficacy, training must target the four primary sources: enactive mastery experiences, vicarious experience, verbal persuasion/so cial influences, and physiologi cal/affective states (Bandura, 1993). To reiterate, although each source is relevant, enactive mastery is the most effective experience through which self-efficacy can be maximized. Empirical attempts to improve memory perf ormance by enhancing memory self-efficacy are sparse, and prior literature sugges ts memory training is more effective at improving performance than altering subjective beliefs (Wes t, Bagwell, & Dark-Fre udeman, in press; Floyd & Scogin, 1997). One such study by Best et al. (1992) targeted outcome expectancies which 50

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Bandura (1986) posits flow from the particular behavior or course of action, serving as incentives or disincentives, depending on whether they are positive or negative. Ageist societal attitudes may contribute negativel y and discourage older adults fr om maximizing performance in highly stereotypic domains of functioning such as memory. In their intervention study, the authors attempted to enhance performance by un doing such negative expectancies and focusing on the positive aspects of aging, benefits of gr eater self-efficacy, and scientific and medical evidence contrary to such ageist stereotypes. Though successful at lowering memory complaints among their sample, concomitant gains in performance did not occur, perhaps because the opportunities for mastery were minimal. A more effective design might be patterned after the work of Jones, Burckhardt, & Bennett, (2004) with chronic pain (fibromyalgia) sufferers. Adhe ring closely to Banduras four main SE sources, the authors devised motivational interviewing techniques to encourage physical exercise. In their theoretical model, particip ants learn (by doing) that they are capable of completing previously feared exercises (enactive mastery), observe others similar to themselves experiencing success (modeling/vicarious lear ning), receive positive encouragement from doctors and physical therapists (v erbal persuasion/social influences ), and experience decreases in pain, fatigue, and depression (phys iological/affective states). A similar approach tailored to older adult memory seems warranted. West a nd colleagues have facilitated both efficacy and performance gains in their work utilizing goa l setting coupled with feedback (e.g., West & Yassuda, 2004; West et al., 2003) and in memo ry training (West et al., in press). Empirical literature examining depressions (n egative) effects on memory performance has been inconclusive, and Banduras theoretical stance is clear; low/poor self-efficacy is what initially leads to depression rath er than vice versa. In the tw o-predictor regression models, MSE 51

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significantly predicted both list and name recall while depression did not. In light of these factors, a sensible approach for clinicians working with elders presenting with memory concerns, might be to target self-efficacy directly, in an attempt to maximize memory performance, as opposed to relieving depressive symptoms. This mi ght indirectly fight against or perhaps even stave off depressive episodes or symptomatology. Again, though a bit specula tive, prior findings that perceived memory decline is a foremost concern among elders, and Banduras view that feelings of inefficacy can lead to depression rather than the opposite, suggest that increasing efficacy should be the priority. Theoretical Implications Though Bandura theorizes from a life span perspective, self-efficacy theory gives comparatively minimal consideration to efficacy dec lines in late life and the broader implications of such decrement. Self-efficacy theory does consider aging and even memory, specifically, but gives them brief consideration so far, relativ e to a focus on efficacy development in childhood. Considering SEs bidirectional nature and it s consistently significant relationship with performance, apparent here and elsewhere, more attention should be dire cted toward the latter part of life and any changes or difficulties uniqu e to this period of functioning. Physiological changes accompanying the normative aging process could make building or even maintaining SE increasingly challenging. It s eems logical that the risk of a downward cycle of decreased performance, lowered SE, and subsequent in creasingly poorer performance or even task avoidance would be greater as people age. As human longevity increases, this will become increasingly relevant. Relevant theoretical expansion seems warranted to consider a truly comprehensive, life span theory. In terms of salience, though me mory is most relevant to this study, it seems likely that there may be other domains of functioning, not sole ly cognitive in nature, for which salience, and 52

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therefore importance of SE, may increase or decr ease over the life span as well (i.e., falls/balance self-efficacy, vision self-efficacy, dr iving self-efficacy). Exploration of why such changes might occur could potentially contribu te to an extension of Bandura s theory in terms of SEs differential relevance for diverse age groups and its impact on their subsequent behavior or performance. Further empirical analysis and th eoretical development with respect to aging and differential salience of various functi onal domains seem warranted. Future Research Self-efficacy theory is a life span model, a nd thus applicable to people at all ages. However, given that physical and cognitive difficulties are often most prevalent in later life, it seems that beliefs and confidence, core elements of self-efficacy, may be increasingly relevant, and perhaps vulnerable, for older adults. Though the current study did not provide evidence for increased memory salience among older adults, more research is needed, ideally longitudinal in nature and with elder participants from a br oad age range, to further examine this posited increased salience. Such a design might also allo w for the identification of a particular age or range during which this salience peak s. Recruitment of participants not necessarily interested in memory might also aid in broade ning SE and salience ranges. In addition to broader samples, perhaps memory salience can be more directly meas ured. Scales of memory value, similar to the achievement scale of the MIA (Dixon & Hultsch, 1984) might be effective. One caution, in trying to assess salience directly is that the ster eotype threat literature (i.e., Rahhal, Hasher, & Colcombe, 2001) has illustrated time and again th at people, especially older adults, may not be consciously aware that certain f unctional domains hold more salience for them. In short, directly tapping salience may be quite challenging, but it would also have much heuristic value for our understanding of how self-efficacy affects performance in aging. 53

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The breadth of tasks and domains of functi oning to which self-efficacy measures can and should be tailored seems limitless. Nevertheless, in order to obtain comparable measures of the link between self-efficacy and performance, our results indicate that it is crucial that specificity be maintained as SE measures are developed for additional domains (e.g., Smith & West, 2006). As stipulated by Bandura and implemented here, SE measures are most useful when they assess individuals beliefs in their ability to execute a specific task. As research progresses, task descriptions should closely fit the performan ce domain that is evaluated to ensure the consistency and accuracy of the performance-SE relationship. Regarding depression, the current study utilized several items to gauge symptoms and the sample was largely non-depressed. This seems to appropriately reflect experiences during late life, a period where the risk for clinical depression does not necessarily increase ( Roberts, Kaplan, Shema & Strawbridge, 1997 ) although it is rather common for older adults to report depressive symptoms (see Blazer, 2002; Cole et al., 1999), especially those suffering impaired functioning. Future research might more directly examine the depression-performance relationship by comparing self-efficacy leve ls among depressed and non-depressed samples longitudinally, to see if changes in depre ssion level might be accompanied by commensurate changes in self-efficacy and subsequent performance both within the domain of memory and others. Such research might utilize samples of more severely depressed participants, and with more sensitive and comprehensive meas ures of depression, as noted earlier. 54

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55 CHAPTER 4 SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS The current study succeeded in providing some empirical support fo r Banduras theoretical claims, with regard to older adult memory. As predicted, memory self-efficacy, when directly compared both to general self-efficacy, and depression, proved to be the sole significant predictor of memory performance. When other f actors were also covaried, self-efficacy retained its predictive power for name r ecall. Though replication is neede d, the results bode well for older adult cognition and Banduras conception of the self-efficacy construct. It appears that aging individuals need not simply succumb to or view as inevitable any cognitive decline they may experience as part of the normal aging process. Rather, their reaction to and perception of such changes matter. This is grounds for hopeful optimis m, and suggests that ol der adults should feel empowered to play an active role in maximizing their memory ability as they age. As people continue to live longer throughout the industrialized world, the beneficial effects of such empowerment, especially when facilitated by future related psychological research, theoretical development, and clinical interven tions, should not be underestimated.

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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Benjamin Andre Bensadon was born on Ap ril 10, 1974, in New York City. An only child raised in part by his grandmother, Benjam ins affinity and respect for older adults has shaped him as a person and continues to guide his quest to help others. He earned his B.A. in psychology and his Master of Education from Boston University in 1996 and 2000, respectively. Benjamin has spent substantial time traveling and living in Europe, he is fluent in Italian and is conversant in Spanish. Upon completion of his Ph.D. program, Benjamin will utilize his linguistic, research and clinical skills to maximize his ability to ameliorate human suffering, particularly that of older a dults, as broadly as possible. 65


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