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NCJ Number: 234132 Find in a Library
Title: People with Dementia as Witnesses to Emotional Events
Author(s): Aileen Wiglesworth Ph.D.; Laura Mosqueda M.D.
Date Published: 2011
Page Count: 30
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice (NIJ)
Washington, DC 20531
National Institute of Justice/NCJRS
Rockville, MD 20849
NCJRS Photocopy Services
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
Grant Number: 2007-MU-MU-0002
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/NCJRS
Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America

NCJRS Photocopy Services
Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
United States of America
Document: PDF
Dataset: DATASET 1
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: In order to determine whether people with dementia (ages 55 and older) can provide reliable evidence as witnesses to emotional events, this study conducted a cross-sectional analysis of 95 people with dementia and a control group of 50 older adults, eliciting memories of recent autobiographical events with both positive and negative emotional content.
Abstract: The study determined that a significant subset of older adults with dementia illnesses can reliably report on emotional events that have happened to them. Compared to people with dementia with less reliable emotional memory, these individuals were able to report details of the event accurately and to recall the same event with the same accuracy after a short time delay. This subset of the dementia sample are likely to be in an earlier stage of the disease, to be more aware of their own cognitive impairment, to be more likely to report negative events in their lives, and to be able to recall an event without cues. These findings suggest that older adults with dementia who are crime victims should be evaluated for their ability to remember emotional events in which they have been involved. If the evaluation shows the capacity to remember autobiographical emotional events, the individual should be allowed to provide testimony about the criminal events. After eliciting memories of both positive and negative emotional events through a structured interview, accurate recollection of these events was independently verified by a non-demented informant, usually a family member. In addition, both the informant and the older adult were interviewed independently in assessing other characteristics of the older adult participant. Information was obtained on demographics, depressive symptoms, functional and cognitive abilities, medications, health conditions, behaviors in casual conversations, and characteristics of the relationship between the older adult and the informant. 3 tables, 3 figures, 74 references, and appended study instruments
Main Term(s): Crimes against the elderly
Index Term(s): Mental disorders; Older Adults (65+); Persons with cognitive disabilities; Victims of Crime; Witness credibility; Witnesses
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