Memory complaints

Memory complaints

LASA filenames:
As part of LASA021 (see: MMSE)
AS part of LASA707 (see: MMSE)
As part of LASEs802, LASEt602 and LASEt702 (see Chronic diseases)

Contact: Almar Kok


Many persons report about a decline in memory function when getting older. Although declining memory may be due to normal cognitive aging, it may also be an early symptom of cognitive impairment or dementia (e.g. Geerlings et al. 1999, Jonker et al. 2000, Dik et al. 2001, Dufouil et al. 2005). However, memory complaints are also found to be associated with depression (e.g. Derouesné et al. 1999; Jorm et al. 2001), anxiety symptoms (Hänninen et al. 1994; Derouesné et al. 1999) and personality characteristics (Hänninen et al. 1994; Ponds and Jolles, 1996; Comijs et al. 2002). All of these findings suggest that when an older person complains about his or her memory one should be aware of cognitive impairment or cognitive decline. However, when cognitive decline can not be demonstrated, these complaints might reflect psycho-affective or health problems.

Measurement instrument in LASA

In LASA memory complaints are assessed by means of two questions:
1. Do you have complaints about your memory? yes / no
2. Did you consult a doctor about your memory problems? yes / no
These questions has proved to be a reliable method to identify people who are at risk for cognitive impairment or dementia (Schofield et al. 1997; Geerlings et al. 1999). The questions are part of the MMSE file (LASA021 and LASA707- first two questions).


LASAB021 / LASAC021 / LASAD021 / LASAE021 / LAS2B021 / LASAF021 / LASAG021 / LASAH021 / LAS3B021 / LASMB021 / LASAI021 / LASAJ021 / LASAK021 (main interview,  only first two variables are presented, in Dutch)
LASAD707 / LASAE707 / LASAF707 / LASAG707 / LASAH707 / LASAI707 / LASAJ707 / LASAK707 (tel. interview with respondent,  only first two variables are presented, in Dutch)

Interim measurement:
LASEs802 (questions 14 and 14a in self-admin. questionnaire, in Dutch);
LASEt602 (questions 14 and 14a in telephone interview with PROXY, in Dutch);
LASEt702 (questions 14 and 14a in telephone interview with RESP, in Dutch)

Variable Information

memory1 and memory2 in: LASAB021 / LASAC021 / LASAD021 / LASAE021 / LAS2B021 / LASAF021 / LASAG021 / LASAH021 / LAS3B021 / LASMB021 / LASAI021 / LASAJ021 / LASAK021
memory1 and memory2 in: LASAD707 / LASAE707 / LASAF707 / LASAG707 / LASAH707 / LASAI707 / LASAJ707 / LASAK707

Interim measurement:

estmemo1 and estmemo2 in LASEs802
eptmemo1 and eptmemo2 in LASEt602
ertmemo1 and ertmemo2 in LASEt702
(pdf on request)

Availability of information per wave


Memory complaints


¹ More information about the LASA data collection waves is available here.

* IM=interim measurement between E and F ( first cohort only);
2B=baseline second cohort;
3B=baseline third cohort;
MB=migrants: baseline first cohort

Ma=data collected in main interview;
Sa=data collected in self-administered questionnaire;
Tp=data collected in telephone interview with proxy;
Tr=data collected in telephone interview with resp

Previous use in LASA

Memory complaints has previously been examined in LASA by Dik et al (2001), Comijs et al. (2002), Rijs et al (2013) and van den Kommer et al. (2014).


  1. Comijs HC, Deeg DJ, Dik MG, Twisk JW, Jonker C. Memory complaints: the association with psycho-affective and health problems and the role of personality characteristics: A 6-year follow-up study. J Affect Disord. 2002;72(2):157-65.
  2. Derouesné, C., Lacomblez, L., Thibault, S., LePoncin, M. (1999) Memory complaints in young and elderly subjects. Int. J. Geriatr. Psychiatry. 14, 291-301.
  3. Dik MG, Jonker C, Comijs HC, Bouter LM, Twisk JW, van Kamp GJ, Deeg DJ. Memory complaints and APOE-epsilon4 accelerate cognitive decline in cognitively normal elderly. Neurology. 2001; 26;57(12):2217-22.
  4. Dufouil C, Fuhrer R, Alperovitch A. Subjective cognitive complaints and cognitive decline: consequence or predictor? The epidemiology of vascular aging study. Journal of American Geriatric Society.2005, 53: 616-621.
  5. Geerlings MI, Jonker C, Bouter LM, Adèr HJ, Schmand B. Association between memory complaints and incident Alzheimer’s disease in elderly people with normal baseline cognition. Am J Psychiatry. 1999;156(4):531-7.
  6. Rijs KJ , Comijs HC, Van den Kommer TN, Deeg DJH. Do employed and not employed 55 to 64-year-olds’ memory complaints relate to memory performance? A longitudinal cohort study. Eur J Public Health. 2013; 23(6):1013-20.
  7. Van den Kommer TN, Comijs HC, Rijs KJ, Van Boxtel MPJ, Deeg DJH. Classification models for identification of at-risk groups for incident memory complaints. International Psychogeriatrics, 2014; 26(2): 257-271.

Date of last update: August, 2016