OBJECTIVES: To explore the relationships between lifestyle and memory, and determine whether social factors influence memory. METHODS: the relationship between memory and lifestyle was examined in 497 adults aged 25-80 years, using the Mectamemory in Adulthood questionnaire. We asked about sports activity and perceived activity, participation in voluntary organizations and social contacts. RESULTS: Activity and frequent contact with friends and family were related to higher memory capacity scores. Those with higher capacity scores were also younger, had better health and a stronger internal locus of control. In contrast, people with higher anxiety scores had more symptoms and less education, and were more externally oriented. CONCLUSIONS: people who consider themselves socially and physically active also consider their memory capacity to be good and are less anxious about their memory than less socially and physically active people. Perceived memory change appears to be predominantly influenced by ageing, whereas memory capacity and memory anxiety are more influenced by social factors.