Executive dysfunction and apathy, predict functional impairment in Alzheimer disease

Patricia A. Boyle, Paul F. Malloy, Stephen Salloway, Deborah Cahn-Weiner, Ronald Cohen, Jeffrey L. Cummings

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

243 Scopus citations


Objective: The purpose of this study was to examine the extent to which executive cognitive dysfunction and frontally-mediated behavioral disturbances are associated with functional impairment in patients with mild-to-moderate Alzheimer disease (AD). Methods: Patients with AD (N = 45) completed the Mattis Dementia Rating Scale, and patients' caregivers completed the Frontal Systems Behavioral Inventory and a modified form of the Lawton and Brody Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) Questionnaire. Results: Multiple-regression analyses revealed that executive cognitive dysfunction and apathy scores accounted for 44% of the variance in instrumental activities of daily living; executive cognitive dysfunction alone explained 17% of the variance in instrumental ADLs, and apathy scores explained an additional 27%. Executive dysfunction and frontal-behavioral impairment explained 28% of the variance in basic ADLs (BADLs), and, after accounting for executive dysfunction, apathy was the only symptom found to explain additional unique variance in BADLs. Conclusion: These findings suggest that specific cognitive and behavioral symptoms are associated with functional impairment in patients with AD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)214-221
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2003
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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