Date: August 2013
Creator: Page, Kyle S.
Description: The term dementia refers to a progressive decline in cognitive functioning resulting in a significant impairment in daily living. Given the devastating impacts of the disease and lack of a cure, it is reasonable to expect people fear developing a dementia. Alzheimer's disease ranks high among the most feared diseases in national samples of the American population. As a topic of study, little is known about the determinants of fear of Alzheimer's disease and how this fear may change as a function of aging, time, or experience. The current study sought to fill this gap by investigating the nature of changes in fear of Alzheimer's disease by following participants (N = 227) over the course of two years. Volunteers completed measures on fear of dementia, knowledge about Alzheimer's disease, knowledge about the aging process, personality traits, memory self-efficacy, anxiety about aging, and Alzheimer's-related experiences (i.e., family history, caregiving experience, number of people known with the disease, personal diagnosis, etc.). Results supported the notion that fear for becoming a burden to others, a component of fear of dementia, decreased over the two years. In addition, personality traits and memory self-efficacy mediated the two-year change in concerns about perceived symptoms of cognitive ...
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