Neuropsychological correlates of anosognosia for objective functional difficulties in older adults on the mild cognitive impairment spectrum

Academic Article


  • Objective: To examine the neuropsychological correlates of anosognosia for instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs) in older adults with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and mild dementia. Method: Participants (n = 103; age range = 54-88, 52% female) with MCI and mild dementia were recruited from neurology and geriatrics clinics for cross-sectional analysis. They completed neuropsychological tests along with subjective and performance-based assessments of six IADLs: financial management, driving, grocery shopping, nutrition evaluation, telephone use, and medication management. For each IADL, participants were classified as having anosognosia when there was objective difficulty but no subjective complaints. Results: Depending on functional domain, 13-39% of the sample had objective IADL difficulty, and of those, 65-93% lacked insight into these deficits. Binomial logistic regression models controlling for demographic variables revealed that measures of global cognition, executive function, visual attention, and verbal memory predicted classification of anosognosia, and these relationships varied across IADLs. In contrast, basic auditory attention, working memory, depressive symptoms, nor cognitive reserve were significantly related to anosognosia for any IADL. Conclusion: Results support the Conscious Awareness Model, which theorizes that accurate metacognitive output is reliant on attentional, memory, and executive functioning systems. Findings from this study suggest that anosognosia for different IADLs may arise from breakdowns at varying points in this model, explaining both inter- and intra-patient variability in self-awareness of functional deficits.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Steward KA; Bull TP; Kennedy R; Crowe M; Wadley VG
  • Start Page

  • 365
  • End Page

  • 376
  • Volume

  • 35
  • Issue

  • 4