• Alzheimer's disease;
  • dementia;
  • excess disability


An in-depth case study was undertaken to assess the effects of what Kitwood has termed ‘malignant social psychology’ on the observed behaviour of an Alzheimer's disease sufferer. Interviews were conducted with the spouse and observations were made in an adult day-care centre, where staff members were also interviewed. Abilities that the spouse reported to be absent at home were readily observed at the day-care centre, lending support to Brody's idea of excess disability, i.e. disability not due to disease alone. Furthermore, forms of malignant social psychology existed in the home environment but did not exist in the day-care centre. Excess disability and its absence coincided with the presence and absence of aspects of malignant social psychology. The sufferer's behaviour was found to be affected not only by the extant neuropathology, but also by social relationships.