A descriptive literature review was done to identify research conducted in both community and institutional settings and published from 1986 to 1993 on the correlates of behavioral symptoms associated with dementia. Critical appraisal and synthesis of the 40 studies revealed theoretical and methodological problems that tempered conclusions about the relationships between behavioral symptoms and the correlates under study. While direct relationships were found in studies in which relationships between behavioral symptoms and cognitive impairment and contextual factors were examined, contradictory results were found in studies of demographic and functional variables. Recommendations for research-based practice are advanced, including the development and testing of alternatives to physical and chemical restraints in the care of persons with dementia. ©1995 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.