Reaction to a Dementia Diagnosis in Individuals with Alzheimer's Disease and Mild Cognitive Impairment
Article first published online: 7 JAN 2008
© 2008, Copyright the Authors; Journal compilation © 2008, The American Geriatrics Society
Journal of the American Geriatrics Society
Volume 56, Issue 3, pages 405–412, March 2008
How to Cite
Carpenter, B. D., Xiong, C., Porensky, E. K., Lee, M. M., Brown, P. J., Coats, M., Johnson, D. and Morris, J. C. (2008), Reaction to a Dementia Diagnosis in Individuals with Alzheimer's Disease and Mild Cognitive Impairment. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 56: 405–412. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.2007.01600.x
- Issue published online: 7 JAN 2008
- Article first published online: 7 JAN 2008
- diagnostic disclosure;
- doctor–patient interactions
OBJECTIVES: To examine short-term changes in depression and anxiety after receiving a dementia diagnosis.
DESIGN: Pre/post survey design.
SETTING: Alzheimer's Disease Research Center.
PARTICIPANTS: Ninety individuals and their companions.
MEASUREMENTS: Fifteen-item Geriatric Depression Scale and 20-item “state” version of the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory.
RESULTS: Sixty-nine percent of the individuals were diagnosed with dementia; two-thirds of those were in the earliest symptomatic stages of dementia that, in other settings, is considered to represent mild cognitive impairment. No significant changes in depression were noted in individuals or their companions, regardless of diagnostic outcome or dementia severity. Anxiety decreased substantially after diagnostic feedback in most groups.
CONCLUSION: Disclosure of a dementia diagnosis does not prompt a catastrophic emotional reaction in most people, even those who are only mildly impaired, and may provide some relief once an explanation for symptoms is known and a treatment plan is developed.