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Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2007 May;15(5):376-85.

Development of a short version of the Apathy Evaluation Scale specifically adapted for demented nursing home residents.

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  • 1Section of Geriatric Psychiatry, University of Heidelberg, Germany.



Apathy is among the most frequent neuropsychiatric symptoms in dementia, particularly Alzheimer disease. The Apathy Evaluation Scale (AES) has been widely employed for assessing apathy in different patient groups. To further facilitate the usage of the AES, an abbreviated version was constructed.


On basis of a sample of 356 nursing home residents, a cross-validation procedure was carried out to develop a brief version of the AES. According to a thorough clinical examination, 85% of the residents were demented, 8% presented with mild cognitive impairment, whereas 7% did not present any cognitive deficits. After subdividing the patient group into two matched samples, the first subsample was used to identify problematic items due to defined psychometric and content-related criteria. The original 18-item scale was thus reduced to 10 items. Psychometric properties of the shortened version were subsequently reassessed in the second subsample.


The short version demonstrated favorable psychometric properties that could be confirmed by cross-validation with the second sample. Correlations with the original full-length version were high (r = 0.97 for both subsamples); the shortened scale yielded no substantial losses regarding internal consistency or construct validity (correlations with the respective subscales of the Neuropsychiatric Inventory).


The frequency of apathetic symptoms in the nursing home residents included confirms the clinical importance of apathy for understanding dementia. Given this specific patient population, setting, and mode of data collection, the short-version AES seems to be a valuable and time-efficient instrument for assessing apathy.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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