The Temporal Associations Between Agitation and Passivity in Dementia in Elderly Nursing Home Residents

Open Access
Gibson, Kaitlin Marie
Area of Honors:
Biobehavioral Health
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Linda Ann Wray, Thesis Supervisor
  • Lori Anne Francis, Honors Advisor
  • dementia
  • agitation
  • passivity
  • CMAI
  • PDS
  • gender
Behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD) are highly prevalent in those suffering with dementia and increase over time with advancing cognitive decline. This project sought to examine the temporal relationships between agitation and passivity behaviors in elderly nursing home residents with dementia. As part of a randomized clinical trial, two twenty-minute observations, once in the morning and once in the afternoon, were video recorded for 128 participants to examine the presence or absence of agitated behaviors using the Cohen-Mansfield Agitation Inventory (CMAI) and passive behaviors using the Passivity in Dementia Scale (PDS). These observations were repeated five times over a five day period. Results showed a primarily female (77%) and Caucasian (88%) sample with a mean age of 86.11 (± 6.0) years with mild to moderate cognitive impairment (Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) score of 14.25 ±4.5). Across all days and times, with subject effect removed (subject mean values subtracted) the correlation between PDS and CMAI is 0.236, indicating that those with high agitation or passivity at one time point tend to show less agitation or passivity at the second time point and vice versa. No apparent gender differences were observed in agitated and passive behaviors in this sample. Understanding how these behavioral symptoms of agitation and passivity are related will help elucidate the behavioral patterns within an individual with dementia and perhaps lead to individualized care patient management strategies.