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Cognition, Depression, older adults, Prospective memory, Repeated measures, Rumination







Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


Background. Prospective memory (PM) refers to the intention to perform a future task held in memory that is executed without any explicit prompts. PM may be negatively impacted by depression, but the mechanisms that drive this association remain unclear. One idea is that rumination increases the frequency of task-irrelevant thoughts, depleting attentional capacity, and thereby reducing PM accuracy and increasing response times. To date, no studies have examined the effects of state and trait rumination on PM using online testing to collect real-time data over time. Objectives. To examine the effect of (1) state and (2) trait rumination on a computerized PM test across accuracy and response times among younger and older adults using a real-time and repeated approach. Age effects were explored. Methods. 139 younger (18-59 years) and 17 older adults (≥60 years) were recruited. Participants completed measures of state unpleasant mood and rumination, followed by a PM task twice per week for two weeks. Mixed-effects models were fit to examine state and trait rumination, and age on PM over time and Spearman correlations were generated to examine trait rumination on PM at baseline. Results. State rumination was associated with poorer PM accuracy in younger adults, after controlling for mood and trait rumination. Generally, younger adults became increasingly faster and accurate over time, while older adults became slower over time. Age was associated with better PM accuracy, but slower response times. Significance. Overall, rumination demonstrates promise as a variable of interest to examine in the context of PM and depression in younger and older adults.