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J Affect Disord. 2016 Jan 1;189:272-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2015.09.062. Epub 2015 Oct 8.

Prevalence and cognitive underpinnings of isolated apathy in young healthy subjects.

Author information

1
Department of Neurosciences, Rehabilitation, Ophthalmology, Genetics and Maternal and Child Health, University of Genoa, Largo Daneo 3-16132, Genoa, Italy; Neuropsychiatric Unit, Centre for Communication and Neurorehabilitation Research-CNAPP, Rome, Italy. Electronic address: matteo.pardini@gmail.com.
2
Department of Neurosciences, Rehabilitation, Ophthalmology, Genetics and Maternal and Child Health, University of Genoa, Largo Daneo 3-16132, Genoa, Italy.
3
Adult Residential Facilities for Persons with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities of the Social Cooperative A.N.F.F.A.S., Genoa, Italy.
4
Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory, Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, 345 East Superior Street, Chicago, IL 60611, USA.
5
Department of Molecular Neuroscience, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA, USA.
6
Department of Neurosciences, Rehabilitation, Ophthalmology, Genetics and Maternal and Child Health, University of Genoa, Largo Daneo 3-16132, Genoa, Italy; Neurology Unit, Valtellina, Val Chiavenna Hospital, Sondrio, Italy.
7
Department of Neurology, University Hospital Basel, Basel, Switzerland.
8
Department of Neurology, IRCCS San Martino Hospital - IST, Genoa, Italy.
9
Territorial Psychiatry Unit, Local Health Service, Ancona, Italy.
10
Neuropsychiatric Unit, Centre for Communication and Neurorehabilitation Research-CNAPP, Rome, Italy; Department of Biomedicine and Prevention, Rome Tor Vergata University, Rome, Italy.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Apathy is well described in neurodegenerative conditions, however to date there is no evidence of significant isolated apathy in subjects free from other neurological and psychiatric co-morbidites. Identifying isolated apathy in subjects free from neuropsychiatric conditions could contribute to refining current concepts of apathy and reevaluate its nosological classification as an independent clinical syndrome.

METHODS:

We assessed apathy and perceived quality of life in a group of 2751 adults (age 19-40 years) free from neuropsychiatric or medical conditions. Subjects with and without elevated apathy were compared on measures of depression, self-efficacy, behavioral inhibition, and behavioral activation.

RESULTS:

Observed prevalence of isolated elevated apathy was 1.45%. Subjects with apathy presented with reduced quality of life and lower behavioral activation compared to apathy-free subjects, while there was no difference between the two groups on measures of depression, self-efficacy, and perceived social skills.

LIMITATIONS:

The main limitation of this study is the use of self-report questionnaires.

CONCLUSIONS:

Isolated, ecologically-relevant apathy can be found in adults independently from the presence of subclinical depression or of concurrent medical conditions. Apathy screening should be considered in the evaluation of young non-depressed subjects with reduced perceived quality of life.

KEYWORDS:

Affective disorders; Epidemiology; Motivation; Neuropsychiatry

PMID:
26454331
DOI:
10.1016/j.jad.2015.09.062
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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