International Psychogeriatrics

Research Article

The development and evaluation of the DK-20: a knowledge of dementia measure

Niamh Shanahana1 c1, Martin Orrella2, Astrid K Schepersa1 and Aimee Spectora1

a1 Research Department of Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology, University College London, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT, UK

a2 Department of Mental Health Sciences, University College London, Riding House Street, London W1W 7EJ, UK


Background: Raising understanding of dementia has become a key focus of international health and social care. An up-to-date, psychometrically sound measure of dementia knowledge that embraces a biopsychosocial perspective is lacking. The aim of this study is to develop and evaluate the psychometric properties of the DK-20, a dementia knowledge questionnaire aimed at unqualified care staff.

Methods: Domain and item generation followed recommended measure development procedures. A pilot and large-scale study evaluated the psychometric properties of the measure on a sample of 211 care staff and other dementia professionals.

Results: The final 20-item measure encompasses items based on biopsychosocial dementia knowledge and care-specific knowledge. Acceptable test-retest reliability, marginal levels of internal consistency, and evidence for face, content, and construct validity were demonstrated.

Conclusions: The DK-20 is the first knowledge of dementia measure to be developed specifically for unqualified care staff and has reasonable psychometric properties. It may be used to identify gaps in knowledge, highlighting areas for inclusion in educational interventions.

(Received January 06 2013)

(Reviewed May 06 2013)

(Revised March 06 2013)

(Accepted June 17 2013)

Key words:

  • Alzheimer’s;
  • dementia;
  • care staff;
  • reliability;
  • validity;
  • outcome measure


c1 Correspondence should be addressed to: Dr Niamh Shanahan, Neuro-Rehabilitation Unit, National Hospital for Neurology & Neurosurgery, Queen Square, London WC1N 3BG, UK. Phone: +44 0203 4483996; Fax: +44 0203 4483711. Email: