The goal of this study is to investigate associations between subjective memory complaint and objective cognitive performance in older people with previous major depression-a high-risk sample for cognitive impairment and later dementia. A cross-sectional study was carried out in people aged 60 or over with previous major depression but not fulfilling current major depression criteria according to DSM-IV-TR. People with dementia or Mini-Mental State Examination score less than 17 were excluded. Subjective memory complaint was defined on the basis of a score ?4 on the subscale of Geriatric Mental State schedule, a maximum score of 8. Older people aged equal or over 60 without any psychiatric diagnosis were enrolled as healthy controls. Cognitive function was evaluated using a series of cognitive tests assessing verbal memory, attention/speed, visuospatial function, verbal fluency, and cognitive flexibility in all participants. One hundred and thirteen older people with previous major depression and forty-six healthy controls were enrolled. Subjective memory complaint was present in more than half of the participants with depression history (55.8%). Among those with major depression history, subjective memory complaint was associated with lower total immediate recall and delayed verbal recall scores after adjustment. The associations between subjective memory complaint and worse memory performance were stronger in participants with lower depressive symptoms (Hamilton Depression Rating Scale score?7). The results suggest subjective memory complaint may be a valid appraisal of memory performance in older people with previous major depression and consideration should be given to more proactive assessment and follow-up in these clinical samples.