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The structure and validity of self-reported affect in mild cognitive impairment and mild Alzheimer's disease

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 March 2011

Rebecca E. Ready*
Department of Psychology, The University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Massachusetts, USA
Janessa O. Carvalho
Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Brown University Alpert School of Medicine, Providence, Rhode Island, USA
Robert C. Green
Department of Neurology, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts, USA Department of Medicine (Geriatrics Program), Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts, USA Department of Epidemiology, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Brandon E. Gavett
Department of Neurology, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Robert A. Stern
Department of Neurology, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Correspondence should be addressed to: Rebecca E. Ready, PhD, The University of Massachusetts, Department of Psychology, Tobin Hall, 135 Hicks Way, Amherst, MA 01003; Phone: +1 413-545-1359; Fax: +1 413-545-0996. Email:


Background: This study determined the reliability, validity, and factor structure of self-report emotions in persons with mild Alzheimer's disease (AD) and mild cognitive impairment (MCI) relative to controls.

Methods: Participants (mild AD, n = 73; MCI, n = 159; controls, n = 96) rated current emotions with the Visual Analogue Mood Scales (Stern, 1997).

Results: Internal consistency reliabilities were comparable across groups, as were the factor structures of emotion. Persons with AD reported more negative affect (NA) than persons with MCI and controls. The emotion that most differentiated groups was confusion. NA and PA may be more bipolar in persons with AD than for persons with MCI and controls.

Conclusions: The underlying structure of affect was similar in persons with mild AD, MCI, and controls. Further, persons with MCI appeared to be “transitional” between cognitive health and dementia with regard to mood and affect. That is, participants with MCI tended to have affect scores that were intermediate between those with AD and controls. Implications for interventions to improve emotional well-being in AD and MCI are discussed.

Research Article
Copyright © International Psychogeriatric Association 2011

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