Date of Award

Summer 8-13-2020

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Psychology degree

Department

Department of Psychology

First Advisor

Judge, Katherine

Second Advisor

Eric Allard

Third Advisor

Toni Bisconti

Abstract

Research on individuals with dementia (IWDs) has received increased attention in order to gain knowledge of the illness experience. Previous studies suggest many IWDs experience unmet needs as well as need-driven behaviors (NDBs) influencing IWDs outcomes of well-being. One possible interpretation of these constructs includes the potential connection between unmet needs and NDBs. In this way, NDBs are a response to some form of unmet need. The aim of this research is to assess three main objectives: (1) to increase the understanding of the illness experience by having individuals with mild to moderate dementia self-report unmet needs and NDBs, (2) to understand the possible connection between unmet needs and NDBs, and (3) to understand how unmet needs and NDBs are related to outcomes of well-being. IWDs with mild to moderate cognitive impairment residing in an assisted living memory care facility were able to self report their own unmet needs, NDBs, and outcomes of well-being; this provides increased rationale for the inclusion of self-report data collection methods within the research process. Additionally, though the current study did not find any relationships between self-reported unmet needs and NDBs, both unmet needs and NDBs were related to outcomes of well-being. Specifically, more unmet needs were related to greater depressive symptoms and lower quality of life; NDBs were related to depressive symptoms but not quality of life.

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