The Memory Failures of Everyday Questionnaire (MFE): Internal Consistency and Reliability

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The Memory Failures of Everyday Questionnaire (MFE) is one of the most widely-used instruments to assess memory failures in daily life. The original scale has nine response options, making it difficult to apply; we created a three-point scale (0-1-2) with response choices that make it easier to administer. We examined the two versions' equivalence in a sample of 193 participants between 19 and 64 years of age. The test-retest reliability and internal consistency of the version we propose were also computed in a sample of 113 people. Several indicators attest to the two forms' equivalence: the correlation between the items' means (r = .94; p < .001) and the order of the items' frequencies (r = .92; p < .001). However, the correlation between global scores on the two forms was not very high (r = .67; p < .001). The results indicate this new version has adequate reliability and internal consistency (r^sub xx'^ = .83; p < .001; α = .83; p < .001) equivalent to those of the MFE 1-9. The MFE 0-2 provides a brief, simple evaluation, so we recommend it for use in clinical practice as well as research.

Keywords: MFE, memory assessment, memory complaints, everyday memory failures, memory questionnaires.

El Cuestionario de Fallos de Memoria de la Vida Cotidiana (MFE) es uno de los instrumentos más utilizados para valorar los olvidos cotidianos. La escala original tiene nueve opciones de respuesta lo que dificulta su aplicación; hemos elaborado una nueva escala de tres opciones de respuestas (0-1-2) más sencilla de administrar. La equivalencia entre ambas versiones se estudió en una muestra de 193 participantes de 19 a 64 años. También se estimó la fiabilidad test-retest y consistencia interna de la versión propuesta en otra muestra de 113 personas. Varios indicadores mostraron la equivalencia entre ambas formas: la correlación entre las medias de los elementos (r = .94; p < .001) y el orden de las frecuencias de los ítems (r = .92; p < .001). Sin embargo la correlación entre las puntuaciones globales de las dos formas no fue muy elevada (r = .67; p < .001). Respecto a la fiabilidad y consistencia interna de la nueva versión los resultados fueron adecuados (r^sub xx'^ = .83; p < .001; α = .83; p < .001), y equivalentes a los del MFE 1-9. El MFE 0-2 ofrece un sistema de valorar breve y sencillo por lo que recomendamos su uso en la práctica clínica y en la investigación.

Palabras clave: MFE, evaluación de memoria, quejas de memoria, olvidos cotidianos, cuestionarios de memoria.

Everyday memory failures form part of the study of memory and memory disorders. Until now, research in this field has focused primarily on the elderly. Memory failures have been studied in terms of memory complaints, which are a manifestation of one's perception and experience of memory failures. Recently, memory complaints have become the subject of growing interest, mostly due to their possible validity as a diagnostic criterion for cognitive impairment (Riedel-Heller, Schork, Matschinger, & Angermeyer, 2000). They are included among the criteria for a diagnosis of Age-associated Memory Impairment (Crook et al., 1986) as well as Mild Cognitive Impairment (Petersen et al., 1999). Numerous studies have posed the question of whether or not memory complaints predict dementia, although this question has not been fully resolved (Jonker, Geerlings, & Schmand, 2000).

On the other hand, everyday memory failures and their manifestation in the form of memory complaints are increasingly worrisome to adults, yet few studies have been conducted in this population. Basset and Folstein (1993) carried out a population study of individuals 18 to 92 years-old, and found that the differences among people under 65 were not significant, but the differences were indeed significant between participants under and over 65. A study of subjects between the ages of 39 and 89 indicated there is no relationship between age and total number of memory failures, but that the type of memory failures may differ according to age. …