Smoking and everyday prospective memory: a comparison of self-report and objective methodologies

Tom Heffernan, Terence O'Neill, Mark Moss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Aims - To examine whether persistent smoking leads to impairments in self-reported and objective measures of prospective memory (PM: the cognitive ability to remember to carry out activities at some future point in time). Methods - An opportunity sample of 18 existing smokers and 22 who had never smoked were compared. An existing-groups design was utilised, comparing a smoking group with a never-smoked control group as the independent factor. Scores on the sub-scales of the Prospective and Retrospective Memory Questionnaire (PRMQ) and scores on the Cambridge Prospective Memory Test (CAMPROMPT) constituted the dependent factors. Age, mood, other drug use, strategy scores and IQ were also measured. Each participant was tested in a laboratory setting. Self-reported PM lapses were measured using the PRMQ. The CAMPROMPT was used as an objective measure of PM. Alcohol and other drug use were assessed by a Recreational Drug Use Questionnaire. The Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale gauged levels of anxiety and depression. A strategy scale measured the number of strategies used to aid memory. The National Adult Reading Test measured IQ. Results - After observing no between-group differences on age, mood, alcohol use, strategy use, and IQ, smokers and the never-smoked did not differ on the self-reported lapses measured on the PRMQ. However, smokers recalled significantly fewer items on the CAMPROMPT than the never-smoked group. Conclusion - The results of the present study suggest that persistent smoking leads to impairments in everyday PM.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)234-8
JournalDrug and Alcohol Dependence
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2010


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