This study examined how age, depressive symptoms, demographic variables, frailty, and health factors jointly influence episodic memory across the lifespan in two large, diverse samples. Hierarchical regression analyses from both samples showed that depressive symptoms negatively impacted episodic memory performance with the effect being more pronounced for older adults. Health and frailty tended not to be associated with episodic memory. However, the main effect of depressive symptoms tended to remain significant over and above other predictors, while the interaction with age was weakened with the addition of demographic variables. The unique contribution of this study is demonstrating that the relationship between depressive symptoms and episodic memory is moderated by age across relatively large non-clinical lifespan samples of adults. The findings indicate the importance of measuring and studying depressive symptoms during the course of aging in order to better understand the complex relationship between age, affect, physical functioning, and memory.

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Aging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition
Department of Psychology

Evans, J. (Jarrett), Charness, N., Dijkstra, K., Fitzgibbons, J.M. (Joanna M.), & Yoon, J. (Jong-Sung). (2018). Is episodic memory performance more vulnerable to depressive affect in older adulthood?. Aging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition, 1–20. doi:10.1080/13825585.2018.1424314