Deena Tampi Co-Authors: Personality and the risk factors for developing behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Personality and the risk factors for developing behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia: a narrative review

Juan J Young, Silpa Balachandran, Garima Garg, Meera Balasubramaniam, Aarti Gupta, Deena J Tampi & Rajesh R Tampi*

*Author for correspondence: Tel.: +1 203 809 5223; rajesh.tampi@gmail.com

Practice points

  • Behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD) symptoms are highly prevalent and produce a significant burden on both patients and caretakers.
  • Understanding the risk factors to developing BPSD may help clinicians and mental health providers in producing targeted treatment and therapy protocols aimed at alleviating such symptoms.
  • Premorbid neuroticism has consistently been found to have a significant association with the development of BPSD symptoms. • Premorbid conscientiousness, extraversion, openness and agreeableness may be protective factors against future BPSD symptoms.
  • Contemporary studies investigating the relationships between BPSD and personality traits are limited and heterogeneous in both their subject populations and methodologies.
  • More standardized and comprehensive evaluations of BPSD symptoms and personality traits will be necessary to further clarify important associations and relationships. Premorbid personality traits have been implicated as risk factors for the development of behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD), although there is a paucity of studies investigating this relationship.

In this narrative review, a number of studies found that premorbid neuroticism has consistently been observed to have a significant association with the development of BPSD symptoms while premorbid conscientiousness, extraversion, openness and agreeableness may be protective factors against future BPSD symptoms. In conclusion, premorbid personality traits appear to affect the risk of BPSD symptoms among individuals with dementia.

Behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD) are a heterogeneous set of neuropsychiatric symptoms commonly present in patients with dementia that have been associated with increased caregiver burden, depression and distress [1,2]. Thus, these symptoms have also been associated with increased costs [3] and higher rates of earlier institutionalization [4,5]. Despite the challenges these symptoms trigger, there is a scarcity of studies investigating elderly patients’ premorbid personality traits that could potentially be useful in predicting the progression of behavioral and neurocognitive symptoms and developing interventions for possible therapeutic targets. Therefore, there is a significant need to determine risk factors of developing BPSD that would aid elderly adults’ caregivers and providers in understanding the development and management of individual neurocognitive disease processes.   click to read more