Prevalence and correlates of aggressive behaviours occurring in patients with Alzheimer's disease

Int J Geriatr Psychiatry. 1997 Apr;12(4):484-7. doi: 10.1002/(sici)1099-1166(199704)12:4<484::aid-gps526>;2-#.


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.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aggression*
  • Alzheimer Disease / complications*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Aphasia / complications
  • Aphasia / epidemiology
  • Apraxias / complications
  • Apraxias / epidemiology
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • England / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sex Factors
  • Violence / statistics & numerical data