University of Twente Student Theses


The emotional expression of people with dementia

Upmann, Julia (2018) The emotional expression of people with dementia.

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Abstract:Objective: The number of people that suffer from a chronic disease and need special care increases due to better medical conditions people become older and older. One example of such a disease is dementia. It is one of the most common deadly diseases worldwide. Which makes dementia an important topic for us all. In 2010 the disease already affected 35 million people worldwide. This systematic review investigates the emotional expression of people with dementia because emotions play an important influence on the quality of life of people with dementia and their caregivers. Specifically, this review examines instruments that can measure emotional expression and with what method researchers of the studies evoked an emotional reaction in their participants. Further it investigates if there are emotions that demented people display more frequently than others and also, if there is a difference between emotion expression in people with dementia and healthy elderly people. Method: For this review four electronic databases (Scopus, Web of Science, PsychInfo and PubMed) were used to scan the following terms “emotion*” AND (“dementia” OR “Alzheimer” OR “mild cognitive impairment”) AND “age*” AND (“expression*” OR “regulation*”). Further only articles that were written in Dutch or English were included. The articles had to focus on people with dementia and not their caregivers or family members and they had to include an instrument that was able to measure an emotional reaction. Results: The different instruments to measure emotional expression and methods used to evoke emotions were compared. In this review six different instruments which can measure an emotional reaction could be found. All of these have their advantages and disadvantages. In this review all studies focused on facial expression. There are also different methods to evoke an emotional reaction, for example film clips. Other studies observed their participants in their daily routine. Then the outcomes of all 14 studies were compared and a difference was made between studies that used a control group and studies that were more observational. This review revealed that people with dementia, even in a severe stage of the disease are still able to show a broad range of emotions. There were only minor differences between participants with dementia and healthy controls. One difference seems to lie in the feeling of an emotion and the expression of emotion. These often do not match in people with dementia. Emotions of people with dementia have an influence on their behavior and the other way around. Discussion: People often think that patients with dementia feel depressed or do not really experience their environment anymore. But this review shows that this prejudice is mostly wrong. They are able to feel and express their emotions the same way as healthy people do. Their mood or feelings are influence in the same way as ours are. This is especially important for staff members in nursing homes. With this knowledge they can increase the quality of life of their patients and make the rest of their lives a little happier and lifeworthy.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology MSc (66604)
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