Basic and Applied Memory Research: Practical Applications - Vol. 2

By Douglas J. Herrmann; Cathy McEvoy et al. | Go to book overview

behavior. The finding that metamemory was the only cognitive variable that influenced variance in adherence is an interesting one. It suggests that when cognitive resources are limited, then individuals, in a sense, attempt to self-regulate by adopting and using external aids to support memory rather than risking poor performance on a task as important to overall function as medication adherence. These results, although preliminary, nicely illustrate why it is important to attempt to understand the cognitive components of adherence within the network of specific beliefs about illness and medications as well as against the background of more general predispositions like anxiety. We continue to believe that cognitive variables do exert a role on medication adherence, but that we were unable to capture this role with this relatively small, select sample. We expect a more complete picture will become available as the data come in from the larger samples we are presently collecting.


CONCLUSION

The present discussion represents an attempt to systematically understand the many factors that may affect the prototypical everyday memory behavior of medication adherence. In addition to providing an integrative theoretical framework across several subareas of psychology within which to conduct research on medication adherence, we hope that the ideas presented in this chapter will stimulate thinking about other aspects of everyday cognitive function. It seems essential that we understand the interplay of both psychosocial and cognitive variables to understand every day cognitive behaviors like way finding, financial decision making, medical choices, and use of technology. The somewhat startling findings from our laboratory that cognitive variables had almost no effect on a behavior that has typically been considered to be within the purview of everyday cognition should give us pause. We now have methodologies and analytic tools in the form of individual differences techniques and structural equation modeling procedures to investigate complex hypotheses and evaluate the relative contributions of different theoretical constructs simultaneously. These powerful techniques are ideally suited to investigating issues of everyday memory function and should be used to help us gain a richer and more complete understanding of the interplay between the individual's cognitive processes and the context in which these processes occur.


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

Preparation of this chapter was supported by grants to the first author from the National Institute on Aging (ROI AG09868 and R01 AG060625), as well as through the Southeastern Center for Applied Cognitive Aging Research,

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