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Memories Cheat, US Study Finds
CHICAGO, June 1 (Reuters) - Those teen-aged years may not have been as good -- or bad -- as you remember.

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 chance.

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 activities.

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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