Document Type

Dissertation

Date of Degree

Fall 2012

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Psychological and Quantitative Foundations

First Advisor

John Westefeld

Second Advisor

Kathleen Buckwalter

Abstract

As the baby boomers age, the number of individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease and related disorders (ADRD) will increase. The following study was a part of a larger study that was concerned with the relationship between the stigma of dementia and overall quality of life (QoL) in persons diagnosed with early stage dementia. The study in this paper examined the relationship between the stigma of dementia and anxiety symptoms. Anxiety is a type of behavioral and psychological symptom of dementia (BPSD) that is common in persons with dementia (PwD). Anxiety may be exacerbated in PwD as a result of unfamiliar situations, changes in routine, awareness of cognitive deficits, inability to express their needs, or worries about how others will respond to their diagnosis. In town hall meetings across the nation, Voices of Alzheimer's disease, persons who had been diagnosed with dementia in the early stages indicated that the stigma of dementia was a predominant concern. The stigma of dementia seemed to be perpetuated by negative societal attitudes and misconceptions of the disease, possibly impacting PwD's anxiety levels and consequently, their QoL. In this study, there was a significant relationship between perceived stigma and anxiety levels in PwD (r=.35; p=.022) at the .05 level in the second visit (T2). It could not be concluded that the relationship between perceived stigma and anxiety levels in PwD changed between visit two (T2) and visit three (T3). Finally, it could not be concluded that social support, demographic variables, stage of disease, or mental ability mediated the relationship between perceived stigma and anxiety.

Keywords

Anxiety, Dementia, Stigma

Pages

vii, 95 pages

Bibliography

Includes bibliographical references (pages 87-95).

Copyright

Copyright 2012 Rebecca Jane Riley

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