The impact of psychotic symptoms on the persons with dementia experiencing them

Jiska Cohen-Mansfield*, Rinat Cohen, Hava Golander, Jeremia Heinik

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Objective To portray the emotional and behavioral reactions of persons with dementia to the delusions and hallucinations they experience, according to the reports of their family caregivers. The article also explores the relationship between those reactions and background variables. Methods Study participants were family caregivers of 74 older persons with a diagnosis of dementia (aged ≥ 65) residing in the community recruited from adult day centers and support groups for caregivers of persons with dementia and by advertising online. Assessments included the Behavioral Pathology in Alzheimer's Disease, the Neuropsychiatric Inventory, the Etiological Assessment of Psychotic Symptoms in Dementia, Activities of Daily Living questionnaire, and the Mini-Mental State Examination. Results Findings concerning emotional reactions reveal that close to half of the delusions resulted in discomfort, whereas around 40% did not. We found significant differences in the discomfort associated with different types of delusions, with delusions of abandonment, danger, and infidelity associated with more discomfort than other delusions. Around half of the delusions were associated with a behavioral manifestation. Conclusion The findings highlight the need to examine the emotional impact of delusions and hallucinations as part of their assessment and as a consideration in treatment decisions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)213-220
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2016


FundersFunder number
Minerva Foundation3158329500
Israel Science Foundation1067/07
Ministry of Health, State of Israel3000004003


    • delusions
    • dementia
    • emotional and behavioral reactions
    • hallucinations
    • psychosis


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