Objective: To determine the prevalence and clinical correlates of verbal and physical aggression occurring in Alzheimer's disease sufferers.
Design: A retrospective note review was performed to classify the subjects according to whether they were verbally or physically aggressive (assaultive) or non-aggressive. The characteristics of the three groups were compared.
Subjects: The subjects were 262 patients who were living in non-institutional settings and had been diagnosed as suffering from dementia of Alzheimer's type.
Results: Fifty-two per cent exhibited some aggressive behaviour. Ninety-one (35%) patients were reported to be verbally aggressive and a further 46 (18%) were assaultive to their carers. Male gender (relative risk 2.17, 95% confidence interval 1.11-4.17) and the presence of dyspraxia (relative risk 2.89, 95% confidence interval 1.43-5.88) both increased the likelihood of assaultive behaviour. Verbal aggression was not associated with any of the clinical features measured.
Conclusion: Aggressive behaviour is a common phenomenon in AD and approximately one in five sufferers is assaultive. Assaultive behaviour is associated with male gender and dyspraxia.