Frequency of behavioral symptoms characterizes agitation in Alzheimer's disease

Rochelle E. Tractenberg, Anthony Gamst, Myron F. Weiner, Elisabeth Koss, Ronald G. Thomas, Linda Teri, Leon Thal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


This study describes two well-characterized groups of Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients with similar levels of cognitive functioning, but with different overall behavioral disturbance levels. We sought to determine the nature of this difference - whether AD patients with higher levels of behavioral disturbance (n = 148) differ from less disturbed AD patients (n = 235) in terms of (a) the range of symptoms exhibited, (b) the frequency of occurrence of these symptoms, or (c) both of these. We defined and operationalized 'diversity of behaviors' and 'frequency' with respect to the item-level responses on the Cohen-Mansfield agitation inventory (CMAI). We found that, in these two samples of AD patients, differences occurred in the frequency of 10 out of 21 behaviors, rather than in a variety of endorsed behaviors. These 10 behaviors, observed at different frequencies in both groups, may be useful for monitoring change in studies of drugs or behavioral interventions for behavioral disturbance in persons with AD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)886-891
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2001


  • Agitation
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Assessment
  • Behavioral disturbance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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