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Influence of early maladaptive schemas, depression, and anxiety on the intensity of self-reported cognitive complaint in older adults with subjective cognitive decline

  • Caroline Tandetnik (a1) (a2), Thierry Hergueta (a1) (a2), Philippe Bonnet (a3), Bruno Dubois (a2) and Catherine Bungener (a1)...



Subjective cognitive decline (SCD) designates a self-reported cognitive decline despite preserved cognitive abilities. This study aims to explore, in older adults with SCD, the association between intensity of self-reported cognitive complaint and psychological factors including Young's early maladaptive schemas (EMSs) (i.e. enduring cognitive structures giving rise to beliefs about oneself and the world), as well as depression and anxiety.


Seventy-six subjects (69.22 years ± 6.1) with intact cognitive functioning were recruited through an advertisement offering free participation in an intervention on SCD. After undergoing a neuropsychological examination (including global cognition (MMSE) and episodic memory (FCSRT)) and a semi-structured interview to assess depressive symptoms (MADRS), they completed a set of online self-reported questionnaires on SCD (McNair questionnaire), Young's EMSs (YSQ-short form), depression (HADS-D), and anxiety (HADS-A and trait-STAI-Y).


The McNair score did not correlate with the neuropsychological scores. Instead, it was highly (r > 0.400; p < 0.005) correlated with trait anxiety and three EMSs belonging to the “Impaired autonomy and performance” domain: Dependence/incompetence, Failure to achieve and Vulnerability to harm or illness. Our final regression model comprising depression, anxiety, and these three EMSs as predictors (while controlling for age, gender, and objective cognition) accounted for 38.5% of the observed variance in SCD intensity.


The level of cognitive complaint is significantly associated with Young's EMSs in the category of “Impaired autonomy and performance”. We assume that SCD may primarily be driven by profound long-term inner beliefs about oneself that do not specifically refer to self-perceived memory abilities.


Corresponding author

Correspondence should be addressed to: Caroline Tandetnik, Institut de la Mémoire et de la Maladie d'Alzheimer, Hôpital de la Pitié-Salpêtrière, 75013 Paris, France. Phone: +01 42 16 75 33; Fax: +01 42 16 75 04. Email:


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Influence of early maladaptive schemas, depression, and anxiety on the intensity of self-reported cognitive complaint in older adults with subjective cognitive decline

  • Caroline Tandetnik (a1) (a2), Thierry Hergueta (a1) (a2), Philippe Bonnet (a3), Bruno Dubois (a2) and Catherine Bungener (a1)...


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