2021 Dr. Jerome Kaplan Outstanding Graduate Paper
Cleveland State University
Paper Title: “Self-Reported Behavioral Symptoms of Persons with Dementia: A Pilot Study Examining Individual’s Perceived Illness Experience”
The current pilot study examined the feasibly of persons with dementia (PWDs) providing self-reported behaviors and behavioral-related distress to address gaps within the literature on the illness experience of behavioral symptoms. Data from a sample of 12 persons with mild to moderate dementia residing in a long-term memory care facility. Results found that persons with mild to moderate dementia were able to provide reliable (=.91) self-reported data concerning their own behaviors and behavioral-related distress with variability among responses. The most frequently self-reported behaviors experienced included agitation (66.7%) and complaining/criticizing things (58.3%) while the least reported behaviors were refusing to be left alone (8.3%) and yelling/swearing (8.3%). The highest behavioral distress reported was agitation (58.3%) while the least was wandering (8.3%). Future research needs to continue examining the illness experience of behaviors and behavioral distress of PWDs to continue theoretical development on the illness experience, understand how these behaviors and/or distress could be related to PWDs’ well-being, and aid the development of non-pharmacological intervention.