. Agitated behaviors in the nursing home pose a major problem for caregivers. Our data showed that the three syndromes of agitation—aggressive behaviors, physically nonaggressive behaviors, and verbally agitated behaviors—are differentially related to medical and psychosocial variables. Physically nonaggressive behaviors may be adaptive for a resident who presents a deteriorated stage of dementia, since these behaviors offer stimulation and exercise. Verbally agitated behaviors may be a form of help-seeking behavior for residents with physical disease and depressed affect. Aggressive behaviors are those least understood, although these behaviors correlate with advanced stages of dementia and with poor interpersonal relationships. These findings should be a basis for further studies, with the ultimate goal being improved care for agitated elderly persons.