Factors associated with problematic vocalizations in nursing home residents with dementia

Cornelia Beck, Kathy Richards, Corinne Lambert, Rebecca Doan, Reid D. Landes, Ann Whall, Donna Algase, Ann Kolanowski, Zachary Feldman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Purpose of the Study:Problematic vocalizations (PVs) are the most frequent and persistent disruptive behaviors exhibited by nursing home residents with dementia. Understanding factors associated with these behaviors are important to prevent or reduce them. We used the Need-Driven Dementia-Compromised Behavior model to identify the characteristics of persons with dementia who are likely to display nonaggressive and aggressive PVs and the conditions under which these behaviors are likely to occur and persist.Design and Methods:This multisite descriptive study included 138 residents of 17 nursing homes, and approximately half had a history of PVs. Background data were gathered through interviews, chart reviews, and administration of physical and neuropsychological assessments. Proximal data were obtained from observations and videotapes.Results:When the 2 subscales of the Verbal Behavior Scale were used as the dependent variables, agreeableness and conscientiousness, positive affect, and discomfort were associated with nonaggressive vocalizations, and general health state (GHS), age, and negative and positive affect were associated with aggressive vocalizations. When the verbally agitated (nonaggressive) section of the Cohen-Mansfield Agitation Inventory was the dependent variable, the background factors of gender, agreeableness, GHS, and age remained predictors, as did the proximal factors of affect and discomfort.Implications:We identified 5 background factors and 3 proximal factors as risk factors for PVs in persons with dementia, with variation between nonaggressive or aggressive PVs. These data provide direction for caregiving for persons with dementia and design of interventions to prevent or reduce PVs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)389-405
Number of pages17
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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