Knowledge about symptoms of Alzheimer's disease: Correlates and relationship to help-seeking behavior

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Objective: The aim of this study was to assess relationships between knowledge about symptoms of Alzheimer's disease (AD) and help seeking intention among the lay public. Design, setting and participants: A convenience sample of 150 community-dwelling persons aged over 45, who did not have a close relative diagnosed with AD, participated in the study. Measures: Knowledge about 11 warning signs of AD as described in the information provided by the Alzheimer's Association, and four non-AD symptoms was assessed, together with intentions to seek help from professional and non-professional sources. Background characteristics included socio-demographic characteristics, personal experience with AD, and perceived threat. Results: Although participants' knowledge about AD symptoms overall was fair, only a slight percentage reported memory problems to be symptoms of the disease. Participants differentiated between AD warning and non-warning signs. Older participants reported consistently more AD and non-AD symptoms, while higher concerns about developing the disease was associated with reporting more non-AD symptoms. Higher knowledge about AD symptoms was associated with increased intentions to seek help from professional sources. Conclusions: Efforts to increase knowledge about AD symptoms should be expanded, with special attention to risk groups. Improved recognition of AD symptoms will promote adequate help-seeking behaviors and will increase early identification and treatment of AD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1029-1036
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2003


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Knowledge
  • Lay public
  • Symptoms
  • Warning signs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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