Background: There is a paucity of cross-cultural studies of behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD).
Method: BPSD were examined in a consecutive series of referrals to a psychogeriatric service in the United Kingdom (U.K.) and in Korea, using the BEHAVE-AD, the Cornell Scale for Depression in Dementia and the Mini-mental State Examination (MMSE). The U.K. service served a well-defined geographical catchment area with a multidisciplinary team and emphasis on home assessments. The Korean service was a nationwide service with limited community resources. The correlates of individual BPSD in each country and the differences between the two countries were examined.
Results: Koreans were younger, were more likely to be married, less likely to be single, had a greater number of people in their household and were more likely to live in their own homes than the U.K. sample. Koreans were more likely to be referred by general psychiatrists or family members, and the U.K. sample was more likely to be referred by general practitioners. Koreans were more likely to have Alzheimer's disease and the U.K. sample to have vascular dementia. The Korean sample had a lower MMSE score than the U.K. sample. In both countries, the total BEHAVE-AD score and most subscale scores were negatively correlated with the MMSE score. The total BEHAVE-AD score and all subscale scores were higher in the Korean sample than in the U.K. sample. The prevalence of all BPSD measured with the BEHAVE-AD were higher in the Korean sample (except aggressivity).
Conclusion: These differences may be explained by differing interpretation and administration of the measurement instruments, models of service delivery, availability of primary and secondary care services, health seeking behavior of patients and families, cultural influences, and knowledge, expectations and recognition of BPSD by professionals in primary and secondary care. However, despite this, there was possible evidence of genuine differences worthy of further cross-cultural population-based epidemiological study of BPSD between these two countries.