a1 School of Psychiatry, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
a2 Primary Dementia Collaborative Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
a3 Academic Department for Old Age Psychiatry, Prince of Wales Hospital, Randwick, NSW, Australia
a4 Neuropsychiatric Institute, Prince of Wales Hospital, Randwick, NSW, Australia
Background: The aim of this study was to determine levels, rates and progression of apathy in healthy older persons and to investigate factors associated with its progression.
Methods: Seventy-six healthy elderly subjects, aged 58–85 years (mean 69.9), who were recruited by general advertisement and through local community groups, participated as a control group for a longitudinal study of stroke patients. Data were collected on demographic, psychological, neuropsychological and neuroimaging (MRI) variables and apathy was rated by informants on the Apathy Evaluation Scale (AES).
Results: Apathy scores and rates increased over 5 years, especially in men. Change of apathy was associated with informant ratings of cognitive decline in the years prior to baseline assessment but not to subsequent neuropsychological, neuroimaging or functional changes.
Conclusions: Apathy increases with age in otherwise healthy community-dwelling individuals, particularly in men.
(Received May 21 2009)
(Revised August 11 2009)
(Revised October 01 2009)
(Accepted October 02 2009)
(Online publication December 15 2009)
c1 Correspondence should be addressed to: Professor Henry Brodaty, Academic Department for Old Age Psychiatry, The Euroa Centre, Prince of Wales Hospital, Avoca St, Randwick, Sydney, NSW 2031, Australia. Phone: +61 2 9382 3759; Fax: +61 2 9382 3762. Email: [email protected].