Apathy dimensions in Parkinson's disease

Ratko Radakovic, Richard Davenport, John M Starr, Sharon Abrahams

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OBJECTIVE: Apathy is a prominent and disabling symptom in Parkinson's disease (PD) and is a multidimensional behaviour, but which dimensions are specifically affected is unclear. Therefore, the aim of this preliminary study was to determine the psychometric properties of the Dimensional Apathy Scale (DAS) and explore the multidimensional profile of apathy in PD patients. 

METHODS: Thirty-four PD patients, with 30 of their informants/carers, and 34 healthy controls, with 30 of their informants, completed the DAS, Apathy Evaluation Scale and the Geriatric Depression Scale Short Form. Motor staging and independent living status were recorded. 

RESULTS: Comparative group analyses revealed that PD patients were significantly more apathetic on self-rated executive (p = 0.01) and initiation (p = 0.03) dimensions than controls, where only executive apathy was significantly higher in ratings of patients' informants/carers compared with controls' informants (p = 0.02). A third of patients were impaired on at least one apathy dimension. Additionally, patients with apathy tended to have more impaired activities of daily living, while none of the apathy dimensions related to motor disability. 

CONCLUSION: Our findings show the DAS is a valid and reliable multidimensional apathy tool for use in PD. PD is characterised by an executive apathy profile as determined by informants/carers, although patients described both executive and initiation apathy. This indicates a lack of motivation for planning, organisation and attention and lack of initiation of thoughts or behaviours. Further research is needed to determine the cognitive underpinnings of this emerging apathy profile and the clinical impact in PD. Copyright © 2017 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)151-158
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
Issue number1
Early online date28 Feb 2017
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2018


  • apathy
  • Parkinson's disease
  • motor symptoms
  • non-motor symptoms
  • depression
  • activities of daily living

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