Off-campus UMass Amherst users: To download campus access dissertations, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your UMass Amherst user name and password.

Non-UMass Amherst users: Please talk to your librarian about requesting this dissertation through interlibrary loan.

Dissertations that have an embargo placed on them will not be available to anyone until the embargo expires.

Date of Award


Access Type

Campus Access

Document type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program


First Advisor

Susan Krauss Whitbourne

Second Advisor

Tamara A. Rahhal

Third Advisor

Rebecca E. Ready

Subject Categories

Clinical Psychology | Cognitive Psychology | Social Psychology


Memory is a salient area of functioning in adulthood known to be influenced by beliefs about performance. Past socio-cognitive research has shown considerable support for the effect of positive feedback and/or self-efficacy on memory performance. The present study used hierarchical linear regressions and path analysis to examine whether self-efficacy would mediate the relationship between identity processes (i.e., individual differences in self-concept) and memory performance. The present study also investigated whether the proposed mediated relationship between identity processes, self-efficacy, and memory performance was moderated by feedback condition. 98 community-dwelling adults (M=70.05, 60-90) were randomly assigned to the three feedback conditions: Positive Feedback (N=33), No Feedback (N=32), Neutral Feedback (N=33). Contrary to expectation, identity processes were not related to memory performance. Path analyses results showed that positive feedback strengthened the relationship between self-efficacy and memory performance when compared to the neutral and no feedback group. The findings support the utility of using positive feedback as a means to enhance the positive effect of self-efficacy on memory performance with older adults.