Subjective Memory Impairment (SMI) is a term used to describe subjective awareness of issues associated with memory. A fascinating study carried out by Holmen et al in Norway based upon the study of 48,000 people. Within the study, the people were asked nine questions about how good the people thought that their memory was. Some of the questions asked were the following:

If they could remember what they were doing a year ago.


How good they were at remembering details of conversations.


Eight out of nine questions were reported by men, as having difficulties in remembering and this figure was higher than with women.

Nearly half of the participants reported minor memory problems. Severe memory issues were reported by 1.2% of women and 1.6% by men. What was the most difficult concept to remember? Remembering names and dates and this increased with age too. Probably, no surprises with any of those statistics.

What might prove interesting is the perceived causes given for the difference in men and women’s issues with memory impairment (SMI). Poor perceived global health was given as a perceived reason, symptoms of anxiety and depression and low education.

The report concluded with this statement:

Minor subjective memory problems were very common, and SMI was clearly  associated with health measures and with level of education. The relatively strong association between SMI and symptoms of depression might be of clinical interest. The reason for men reporting more memory problems than women remains unexplained.

Professor Jostein Holmen

What do you think the reasons might be?