X-Message-Number: 13826
Date: Fri, 02 Jun 2000 17:13:48 -0400
From: Jan Coetzee <>
Subject: Memories Cheat, U.S. Study Finds

Memories Cheat, U.S. Study Finds

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Those teen-aged years may not have been as good --
or bad -- as you

In a study published on Thursday spanning 34 years in a group of
middle-aged men, researchers
reported that the likelihood of accurately remembering events from
adolescence is no greater than

The study from Northwestern University Medical School involved 67
mentally healthy men who
were questioned first at age 14 and again at 48 regarding family
relationships, home environment,
dating and sexuality, religion, parental discipline and general

It found significant differences between what adults remembered about
adolescence and what
they said when they were adolescents.

``It is often said that adolescence is the period in the life cycle that
is most difficult to see
clearly,'' said Daniel Offer, a co-author of the report. ``Our study of
the emotionally laden
experience of adolescence as seen through the lens of 48-year-olds
demonstrated that this may
indeed be so.''

He said the findings are important for psychiatrists and others who have
to obtain historical and
biographical information from patients.

``If accurate memory of past events and relationships is no better than
chance for normal,
mentally healthy individuals, we might expect that the reports of past
experiences by people who
are currently medically ill, psychologically disturbed or otherwise
compromised would be even
less accurate,'' he said.

The study was published in the June issue of the Journal of the American
Academy of Child and
Adolescent Psychiatry. It did find two exceptions to the fogging of
memory: The men
remembered their father's incomes compared to their ability to make more
as adults and those
who had girlfriends retained stronger recollections of that.

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