Very frequent physical aggression and vocalizations in nursing home residents with dementia

Annelies E. Veldwijk-Rouwenhorst, Sytse U. Zuidema, Martin Smalbrugge, Hans Bor, Roland Wetzels, Debby L. Gerritsen, Raymond T.C.M. Koopmans

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9 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: We investigated the 2-week prevalence and correlates of very frequent physical aggression (PA) and vocalizations in nursing home (NH)-residents with dementia. Method/Design: This cross-sectional study used combined data of 2074 NH-residents from four studies, collected from 119 dementia special care units in 26 Dutch NH. Very frequent PA was defined as scoring 6 or 7 on the items ‘hitting’, pushing’, ‘biting’ and ‘kicking’ of the Cohen Mansfield Agitation Inventory; very frequent vocalizations as scoring 6 or 7 on ‘screaming’ and ‘making strange noises’. We compared NH-residents with very frequent PA or vocalizations with residents with less frequent PA or vocalizations, assessing correlates using univariate and multivariate multilevel logistic regression analyses. Results: We found a 2-week prevalence of 2.2% (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.63–2.89) of very frequent PA and 11.5% of very frequent vocalizations (95% CI: 10.23–12.98). Very frequent PA was only associated with apathy (odds ratio (OR)=1.93, 95% CI: 1.04–3.61). Correlates of very frequent vocalizations were age (OR = 0.97, 95% CI: 0.951–0.998), dementia severity (overall p-value 0.020), antipsychotic drug use (OR = 1.56, 95% CI: 1.08–2.26), antiepileptic drug use (OR = 2.75, 95% CI: 1.34–5.68) and euphoria (OR = 2.01, 95% CI: 1.22–3.31). Conclusion: Characteristics of NH-residents with very frequent PA or very frequent vocalizations differ from those of NH-residents with less frequent PA or vocalizations. Frontal lobe damage, boredom, pain and/or external factors may explain several of the found associations, but further research is necessary. Our findings may contribute to better care for these residents and thereby to improving their quality of life.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAging and Mental Health
Early online date2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2020


  • Aggression
  • dementia
  • nursing home
  • physical
  • very frequent
  • vocalizations

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