BACKGROUND: Apathy is a complex multidimensional syndrome frequently reported in Alzheimer's disease (AD) and is associated with impaired awareness. Here we present a psychometrically robust method to profile apathy in AD.
OBJECTIVES: To determine the validity and reliability of a multidimensional apathy measure, the Dimensional Apathy Scale (DAS), and explore the apathy subtype profile and its associations in AD.
METHODS: 102 people with AD and 55 healthy controls were recruited. Participants completed the DAS, the Apathy Evaluation Scale (AES), Geriatric Depression Short form (GDS-15), and Lawton Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (LIADL). Psychometric properties of the DAS were determined. AD-Control comparison was performed to explore group differences on the DAS. Latent Class Analysis (LCA) was used to explore the profile of apathy in AD.
RESULTS: The DAS had a good to excellent Cronbach's standardized alpha (self-rated = 0.85, informant/carer-rated = 0.93) and good convergent and divergent validity against standard apathy (AES) and depression (GDS-15) measures. Group comparison showed people with AD were significantly higher for all apathy subtypes than controls (p < 0.001), and lacking in awareness over all apathy subtype deficits. LCA showed three distinct AD subgroups, with 42.2% in the Executive-Initiation apathy, 28.4% in the Global apathy, and 29.4% in the Minimal apathy group.
CONCLUSIONS: The DAS is a psychometrically robust method of assessing multidimensional apathy in AD. The apathy profiles in AD are heterogeneous, with additional specific impairments relating to awareness dependent on apathy subtype.
- Alzheimer’s disease
- behavior rating scale