Alzheimer's disease, Alzheimer's Disease Knowledge test, misconceptions, patient education



  1. Sullivan, Karen PhD
  2. Muscat, Tracey BPsych (Hons)
  3. Mulgrew, Kate BPsych (Hons)


Background: There is limited previous research that has examined level of Alzheimer's disease (AD) knowledge and misconceptions using a structured questionnaire across a range of samples. To address this gap, the current study investigated knowledge, knowledge gaps, and misconceptions about AD in a sample of noncarers, caregivers, and individuals with AD.


Method: A modified version of the Alzheimer's Disease Knowledge (ADK) test was administered to 13 carers, 20 noncarer older adults, and 10 people with AD. Two sets of analyses were undertaken, first to identify group differences in the amount of knowledge reported by each group and second, to determine the nature of people's understanding of AD.


Results: Overall level of knowledge in the 3 groups was quite poor. Although carers had significantly greater AD knowledge than noncarers or patients, carers correctly answered approximately 50% of items only. Relative to noncarers and AD patients, carers demonstrated a higher number of commonly held correct beliefs than participants in the other 2 groups, who held relatively few correct beliefs. All 3 groups had some misconceptions about AD.


Conclusions: These findings suggest not only that education programs targeting the elderly community in general and AD patients specifically may be needed, but also that carer knowledge of AD could be further improved. Future educational interventions could be tailored to address the knowledge needs of each of the groups identified in this study. In particular, the need to address misconceptions and knowledge gaps shared by more than 1 group should be a priority.