Questionnaires

Questionnaires are the most frequently assigned method for the evaluation of prospective memory, although there are only few questionnaires that concentrate only on prospective memory. Instead, some items concerning prospective remembering were embedded into general questionnaires concerning memory in everyday life (for an overview, see Shum et al., 2002). In the following, only those procedures are described that permit a more comprehensive evaluation. All the questionnaires reported indicate the frequency of forgetting on a Likert scale.

Prospective and Retrospective Memory Questionnaire (PRMQ; Smith, Delia Sala, Logie, & Maylor, 2000) For the evaluation of memory in the everyday life of patients with Alzheimer's disease, Smith et al. (2000) provided the

PRMQ. This instrument consists of eight items concerning prospective memory and eight items concerning retrospective memory. In addition, length of storage interval (short vs. long interval) as well as the recall context (time-based vs. event-based) were varied. Crawford, Smith, Maylor, Della Sala, and Logie (2003) accomplished a comprehensive standardization study, which also allows statements about important differences between prospective and retrospective memory.

Prospective Memory Questionnaire (PMQ; Hannon, Adams, Harrington, & Fries-Dias, 1995) The PMQ is a questionnaire specifically tailored to the assessment of prospective memory. The PMQ consists of 52 questions that may be assigned to four subscales: frequency of forgetting short-term habitual intentions, long-term episodic intentions, internal cued intentions, and strategy use. This questionnaire assesses strategy use, which most others do not.

Comprehensive Assessment of Prospective Memory (CAPM; Waugh, 1999) The CAPM not only asks for the frequency of forgetting, it also asks for information concerning the severity of memory errors, as well as reasons for memory failure. Thirty-nine items ask for prospective memory failures in different everyday situations. Roche, Fleming, and Shum (2002) tested the questionnaire with 33 patients with brain injuries, as well as 29 healthy control participants. The groups did not differ in self-assessment, but there were significant differences in the relatives' ratings. Whereas patients with brain injuries usually overestimated their performance and underestimated everyday failures, the opposite response behavior was observed in healthy participants, who overestimated the frequency of their errors. The authors concluded that self-ratings are less reliable in individuals with brain injuries, but that relatives' ratings may offer a more reliable and valid assessment of patients' performance. Walther and Thone-Otto (2005) used a German translation of the CAPM in a clinical study of 26 patients with brain injuries. The CAPM rating of relatives' was correlated with patients' performance on two experimental tasks of prospective remembering (calling an answering machine at designated times, and mailing a letter) and self-reported dysexecutive problems (BADS-DEX), but not with other neuropsychological test parameters (reactions times, word-list learning, digit span, Behavioural Assessment of the Dysexecutive Syndrome [BADS]). This result was in line with other studies, which failed to find correlations between psychometric parameters and everyday prospective memory performance (Fortin, Godbout, & Braun, 2003; Shallice & Burgess, 1991). This may be due to the fact that a complex interaction among several cognitive functions is necessary to provide successful prospective remembering in everyday life. Correlations between individual test scores may not be able to represent these interrelations, whereas a self- or relative's estimation measured by a questionnaire may be able to.

One problem with questionnaires is that they are not able to differentiate whether forgetting few intentions is actually due to good prospective memory or rather, based on good compensatory strategies. Thus, if patients use their memory books reliably, they may not forget appointments in everyday life, although they do not remember them without the book. In addition, there are some problems that apply to the use of questionnaires with patients with brain injuries in general.

These patients may have difficulties estimating the frequencies of their memory deficits accurately because they forget about having forgotten things or their awareness of deficits may be impaired. In addition, in patients with perceptual deficits or neglect, errors may occur because they fail to see some of the answer choices.

On the other hand, self-rating questionnaires give a good idea of the patient's perception of his or her everyday problems and not necessarily a realistic view of his or her prospective memory performance. The employment of ratings by relatives may supplement the picture generated by self-assessment.

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