The Fear of Alzheimer's Disease Scale: A new measure designed to assess anticipatory dementia in older adults

Samantha L. French, Mark Floyd, Stacy Wilkins, Sheryl Osato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

26 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background As the prevalence of Alzheimer's disease (AD) is rapidly increasing, apprehension about developing the degenerative disease (anticipatory dementia or fear of developing AD) has become a topic of interest. However, most studies of anticipatory dementia have utilized brief, nonvalidated measures to explore older adults' apprehension. As such, there is a significant need for a psychometrically sound instrument to measure this fear. Methods The current study utilized 101 older adults ages 65 to 91 to develop and validate an important new scale, the Fear of Alzheimer's Disease Scale (FADS). Construct validity of the FADS was assessed with the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory-Form Y (STAI-Y). Results Analyses revealed a three-factor model for the FADS (i.e., General Fear, Physical Symptoms, and Catastrophic Attitude) and an α of 0.94 for the entire measure, indicating good internal consistency. The FADS demonstrated good construct validity, as it was significantly correlated with both the state and trait subscales of the STAI-Y, with the trait subscale yielding the highest correlation. Conclusion The FADS is a reliable and valid instrument and is the first of its kind available to directly address anticipatory dementia among a general population of older adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)521-528
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
Volume27
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2012

Keywords

  • Alzheimer's disease threat
  • anticipatory dementia
  • anxiety
  • fear of developing Alzheimer's disease
  • older adults

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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