A Clinical Pilot Study of Spaced Retrieval Practice with a Self-Generation Booster to Improve Health-Related Memory in Persons With HIV Disease

Academic Article


  • OBJECTIVE: Spaced retrieval practice (SRP) and self-generation are among the most replicated and effective mnemonic strategies in the cognitive psychology literature, but their benefits have not yet been realized in healthcare settings. This study used a randomized, between-subjects design to examine the hypothesis that SRP with a self-generation booster can improve memory for health-related information among clinically referred persons with HIV (PWH), who often have difficulty acquiring new health knowledge. METHOD: A consecutive series of 41 PWH referred to a county-funded urban neuropsychology clinic were enrolled. Participants were randomly assigned to learn four statements about the treatment of a mock infectious disease in either a massed study control condition (n = 20) or an SRP condition (n = 21) in which they received two distributed free recall training tests supplemented with self-generation for missed items. The primary outcome was participants' free recall of the four treatment statements after a 20-minute delay filled with nonverbal tests. RESULTS: PWH participants in the SRP condition were four times more likely than controls to recall at least one treatment statement at the 20-minute delay. SRP was not related to post-test recognition or health-related decision-making performance but was associated with moderately better self-efficacy for decision-making. CONCLUSIONS: Findings from this pilot study show the potential of SRP with a self-generation booster to improve learning and memory for health-related information among PWH in clinic.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Woods SP; Babicz MA; Matchanova A; Sullivan KL; Avci G; Hasbun R; Giordano TP; Fazeli P; Morgan EE
  • Start Page

  • 1296
  • End Page

  • 1306
  • Volume

  • 36
  • Issue

  • 7