Caregiver Reactions to Aggressive Behaviors in Persons With Dementia in a Diverse, Community-Dwelling Sample

Bryan R. Hansen, Nancy A. Hodgson, Chakra Budhathoki, Laura N. Gitlin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Purpose: To describe caregiver challenges with and confidence managing three aggressive behavior types in persons with dementia: verbal aggression, destroying property, and threatening to hurt others. Design and Method: Secondary analysis of baseline data from the 2001-2004 Resources for Enhancing Alzheimer’s Caregiver Health II (REACH II) initiative. Results: One or more aggressive behaviors within 1 week were reported by more than a third of caregivers, with most expressing upset but fewer expressing confidence managing the behaviors. Caregiver distress and confidence differed by race/ethnicity in response to verbal aggression, with more White/Caucasian caregivers expressing upset than Hispanic/Latinos or Black/African Americans. Fewer Hispanic/Latinos expressed confidence managing verbal aggression, compared with White/Caucasians or Black/African Americans. Discussion: Aggressive behaviors challenge caregivers, with reactions varying by behavior type and race/ethnicity. Cultural and contextual factors suggest the need to tailor interventions, especially skill-building interventions that increase confidence managing aggressive behaviors while decreasing upset.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)50-61
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Applied Gerontology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020


  • aggressive behavior
  • behavioral symptoms
  • caregiving
  • dementia
  • health disparity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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