Agitated behavior and cognitive functioning in nursing home residents: Preliminary results

Jiska Cohen-Mansfield*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Agitation is a significant problem for nursing home residents, their families, and their carctakers. Previous literature suggests that agitation is related to dementia and cognitive deteriora­tion in the elderly, but no empirical studies support this relationship. This study tests the relationship between level of cognitive function­ing and the nature and level of agitation in nursing home residents. Nurses rated one hundred sixty-five nursing home residents on cog­nitive functioning and agitation. Results indicate that agitation is prevalent among all types of nursing home residents and that cogni­tively impaired residents exhibit more agitation than cognitively in­tact residents. The highest levels of agitation appear to be exhibited by those with moderate levels of cognitive impairment. Manifestations of agitation differ between cognitively intact and cognitively impaired residents: agitated behaviors of cognitively intact residents resemble coping mechanisms, while cognitively impaired residents manifest a wide range of inappropriate behaviors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-22
Number of pages12
JournalClinical Gerontologist
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - 10 Nov 1988
Externally publishedYes


FundersFunder number
National Institute of Mental Health


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