Predicting cognitive, functional, and diagnostic change over 4 years using baseline subjective cognitive complaints in the Sydney Memory and Ageing Study

Melissa J. Slavin, Perminder S. Sachdev, Nicole A. Kochan, Claudia Woolf, John D. Crawford, Katrina Giskes, Simone Reppermund, Julian N. Trollor, Brian Draper, Kim Delbaere, Henry Brodaty*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: There is limited understanding of the usefulness of subjective cognitive complaint(s) (SCC) in predicting longitudinal outcome because most studies focus solely on memory (as opposed to nonmemory cognitive) complaints, do not collect data from both participants and informants, do not control for relevant covariates, and have limited outcome measures. Therefore the authors investigate the usefulness of participant and informant SCCs in predicting change in cognition, functional abilities, and diagnostic classification of mild cognitive impairment or dementia in a community-dwelling sample over 4 years. Methods: Nondemented participants (N = 620) in the Sydney Memory and Ageing Study aged between 70 and 90 years completed 15 memory and 9 nonmemory SCC questions. An informant completed a baseline questionnaire that included 15 memory and 4 nonmemory SCC questions relating to the participant. Neuropsychological, functional, and diagnostic assessments were carried out at baseline and again at 4-year follow-up. Cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses were carried out to determine the association between SCC indices and neuropsychological, functional, and diagnostic data while controlling for psychological measures. Results: Once participant characteristics were controlled for, participant complaints were generally not predictive of cognitive or functional decline, although participant memory-specific complaints were predictive of diagnostic conversion. Informant-related memory questions were associated with global cognitive and functional decline and with diagnostic conversion over 4 years. Conclusion: Informant memory complaint questions were better than participant complaints in predicting cognitive and functional decline as well as diagnoses over 4 years.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)906-914
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Cognition
  • Complaints
  • Dementia
  • Mild cognitive impairment


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