Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry





PubMed ID





School of Nursing and Midwifery / Centre for Research in Aged Care




Medical Research Future Fund / National Health and Medical Research Council / Australian Government / Open access publishing facilitated by Flinders University, as part of the Wiley ‐ Flinders University agreement via the Council of Australian University Librarians.

Grant Number

NHMRC Number : 1194084


Cations, M., Atee, M., Morris, T., & Whiting, D. (2024). Neuropsychiatric symptoms of dementia in those with and without a recorded history of psychological trauma: A comparative study from an Australian dementia support service. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 39(1), article e6054.


Objective: To compare the number and severity of neuropsychiatric symptoms (NPS) and associated caregiver distress between those with and without a noted history of psychological trauma among those referred to a specialised national dementia NPS support service. Methods: This was a 5-year retrospective observational study of records from the Dementia Support Australia NPS support service. NPS were reported by formal or informal caregivers at service entry using the Neuropsychiatric Inventory Nursing Home version or Questionnaire version. A history of psychological trauma was recorded in the person's social or medical history and/or endorsed as a contributor to NPS by a trained dementia consultant after a comprehensive clinical review. Regression was used to examine the impact of a recorded history of psychological trauma on NPS severity and associated caregiver distress, controlling for age and sex. Results: Among 41,876 eligible referrals with dementia, 6% (n = 2529) had some reference in their records to a history of psychological trauma. Referrals with a recorded history of psychological trauma were rated with a higher rate of both NPS severity (mean = 12.0) and associated caregiver distress (mean = 16.5) at service entry than those without a recorded history of psychological trauma (means = 10.7 and 14.5, respectively). A recorded history of psychological trauma was associated with higher odds of psychotic symptoms, agitation/aggression, irritability, disinhibition, affective symptoms and night-time behaviours. Conclusions: Traumatic stress symptoms may represent a neglected target for intervention to reduce the impact of NPS in people with dementia.



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.