Diagnosis and assessment of apathy in Chinese patients with Alzheimer's disease

Hongyi Zhao, Zhongxin Zhao, Liuqing Huang, Maurice Preter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Background: Apathy is a major component of the behavioral and psychological symptoms of Alzheimer's Disease (AD) and other types of dementia. Most researchers have reached a consensus on a new set of diagnostic criteria for apathy (DCA) recently. However, no relevant reports on apathy exist for AD patients in Asian countries yet. Objectives: To estimate the prevalence of apathy in Chinese AD patients. Methods: 83 AD patients were recruited for a cross-sectional observational study. Following the new diagnostic criteria for apathy (DCA) and DSM-IV criteria for Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), each patient was assessed successively by Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE), the Neuropsychiatric Inventory-apathy subscale (NPI-apathy), the Geriatric Depression Screening scale (GDS), and the Caregiver Burden Scale (CBS). Results: According to the DCA, we found that the frequency of apathy in Chinese AD patients reached 61.4%. The DCA had very good standard validity and internal consistency. The frequency of apathy was not significantly associated with that of depression, whereas there was a significant association between apathy and more severe cognitive deficits. Caregiver burden was significantly associated with severity of apathy. Conclusions: From the symptoms of a group of Chinese AD patients, we summarized a set of effective methods for the diagnosis and assessment of apathy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)405-407
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Psychosomatic Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Alzheimer's Disease
  • Apathy
  • Assessment tool
  • Diagnostic criteria


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