Factors associated with behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia: Prospective observational study using actigraphy

Eunhee Cho, Sujin Kim, Sinwoo Hwang, Eunji Kwon, Seok Jae Heo, Jun Hong Lee, Byoung Seok Ye, Bada Kang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Although disclosing the predictors of different behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD) is the first step in developing person-centered interventions, current understanding is limited, as it considers BPSD as a homogenous construct. This fails to account for their heterogeneity and hinders development of interventions that address the underlying causes of the target BPSD subsyndromes. Moreover, understanding the influence of proximal factors-circadian rhythm-related factors (ie, sleep and activity levels) and physical and psychosocial unmet needs states-on BPSD subsyndromes is limited, due to the challenges of obtaining objective and/or continuous time-varying measures. Objective: The aim of this study was to explore factors associated with BPSD subsyndromes among community-dwelling older adults with dementia, considering sets of background and proximal factors (ie, actigraphy-measured sleep and physical activity levels and diary-based caregiver-perceived symptom triggers), guided by the need-driven dementia-compromised behavior model. Methods: A prospective observational study design was employed. Study participants included 145 older adults with dementia living at home. The mean age at baseline was 81.2 (SD 6.01) years and the sample consisted of 86 (59.3%) women. BPSD were measured with a BPSD diary kept by caregivers and were categorized into seven subsyndromes. Independent variables consisted of background characteristics and proximal factors (ie, sleep and physical activity levels measured using actigraphy and caregiver-reported contributing factors assessed using a BPSD diary). Generalized linear mixed models (GLMMs) were used to examine the factors that predicted the occurrence of BPSD subsyndromes. We compared the models based on the Akaike information criterion, the Bayesian information criterion, and likelihood ratio testing. Results: Compared to the GLMMs with only background factors, the addition of actigraphy and diary-based data improved model fit for every BPSD subsyndrome. The number of hours of nighttime sleep was a predictor of the next day's sleep and nighttime behaviors (odds ratio [OR] 0.9, 95% CI 0.8-1.0; P=.005), and the amount of energy expenditure was a predictor for euphoria or elation (OR 0.02, 95% CI 0.0-0.5; P=.02). All subsyndromes, except for euphoria or elation, were significantly associated with hunger or thirst and urination or bowel movements, and all BPSD subsyndromes showed an association with environmental change. Age, marital status, premorbid personality, and taking sedatives were predictors of specific BPSD subsyndromes. Conclusions: BPSD are clinically heterogeneous, and their occurrence can be predicted by different contributing factors. Our results for various BPSD suggest a critical window for timely intervention and care planning. Findings from this study will help devise symptom-targeted and individualized interventions to prevent and manage BPSD and facilitate personalized dementia care.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere29001
JournalJournal of medical Internet research
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Oct

Bibliographical note

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© 2021 Journal of Medical Internet Research. All rights reserved.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health Informatics


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