The everyday functional capacities of older adults are determined by multiple factors. The primary goal of the present study was to evaluate whether apathy and depression have unique influences on degree of functional impairment, independent of the effects of specific cognitive impairments. Participants included 344 older adults (199 normal, 87 with MCI, 58 with dementia). The Everyday Cognition (ECog) scales were used to measure both global and domain-specific functional abilities. Neuropsychiatric symptoms of depression and apathy were measured by the Neuropsychiatric Inventory (NPI), and specific neuropsychological domains measured included episodic memory and executive functioning. Results indicated that worse memory and executive function, as well as greater depression and apathy, were all independent and additive determinants of poorer functional abilities. Apathy had a slightly more restricted effect than the other variables across the specific functional domains assessed. Secondary analysis suggested that neuropsychiatric symptoms may be more strongly associated with everyday function within cognitively normal and MCI groups, while cognitive impairment is more strongly associated with everyday function in dementia. Thus, a somewhat different set of factors may be associated with functional status across various clinical groups.
- Everyday function
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health
- Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
- Clinical Psychology
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Developmental and Educational Psychology