Awareness of memory functioning, autobiographical memory and identity in early-stage dementia.
Journal - Neuropsychological rehabilitation (England )
Sense of identity is thought to be closely related to autobiographical memory. Theoretical models of awareness suggest that both may also be related to level of awareness of memory functioning among people with early-stage dementia. This study explores the relationships between autobiographical memory, identity and awareness in early-stage dementia. Thirty participants with Alzheimer's disease, or vascular or mixed dementia were assessed using the Autobiographical Memory Interview, with an additional section eliciting recall for the mid-life period, the Tennessee Self-Concept Scale, and the Memory Awareness Rating Scale. Lower levels of awareness of memory functioning were associated with poorer autobiographical recall for the mid-life period and with a more positive and definite sense of identity. Reduced awareness may serve a protective function against the threats to self posed by the onset and progression of dementia.