Subtle mistakes in self-report surveys predict future transition to dementia

TitleSubtle mistakes in self-report surveys predict future transition to dementia
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsSchneider, S, Junghaenel, DU, Zelinski, E, Meijer, E, Stone, AA, Langa, KM, Kapteyn, A
JournalAlzheimer's & Dementia: Diagnosis, Assessment & Disease Monitoring
Keywordscognitive impairment, Dementia, early detection, Epidemiology, functional abilities, self-report surveys

Introduction We investigate whether indices of subtle reporting mistakes derived from responses in self-report surveys are associated with dementia risk. Methods We examined 13,831 participants without dementia from the prospective, population-based Health and Retirement Study (mean age 69 ± 10 years, 59% women). Participants’ response patterns in 21 questionnaires were analyzed to identify implausible responses (multivariate outliers), incompatible responses (Guttman errors), acquiescent responses, random errors, and the proportion of skipped questions. Subsequent incident dementia was determined over up to 10 years of follow-up. Results During follow-up, 2074 participants developed dementia and 3717 died. Each of the survey response indices was associated with future dementia risk controlling for confounders and accounting for death as a competing risk. Stronger associations were evident for participants who were younger and cognitively normal at baseline. Discussion Mistakes in the completion of self-report surveys in longitudinal studies may be early indicators of dementia among middle-aged and older adults.

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