J Korean Geriatr Psychiatry.  2005 Dec;9(2):112-121.

Attitudes toward Disclosing Dementia Diagnosis in Korean Elderly and Family with Dementia Patients

  • 1Department of Neuropsychiatry, Kosin University, College of Medicine, Busan, Korea. cheonjs@mail.kosin.ac.kr
  • 2Gongju Geriatric Hospital, Gongju, Korea.
  • 3Department of Psychiatry, Yonsei University, College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
  • 4Department of Geriatric Psychiatry, National Bugok Hospital, Changnyoung, Korea.


The aims of this study were to know whether Korean healthy elderly and family with dementia patients were wishing to disclose the diagnosis of dementia, to identify reasons of their wishing and unwishing to disclose, and to analyze influencing factors on the disclosing of dementia.
We obtained data from 78 healthy elderly with age over 60 and 73 family with dementia patients by interviewing with questionnaire about attitudes toward disclosing dementia.
1) 51.3% of healthy elderly and 58.9% of family with dementia patients were wishing to disclose dementia. Other relatives whom they wanted to tell were spouse or adult children. Most family with dementia patients wanted to have predictive tests in preparation for their future. 2) The main reasons for wishing to disclose were to make advance planning in healthy elderly, and to be careful and cooperate well to treat if they aware their illness in family with dementia patients (p<0.005, respectively). The main reasons for unwishing to disclose were whether they might be frightened or upset in healthy elderly (p<0.025), and to worry about being depressed in family with dementia patients (p<0.005). The main reasons why family wanted to be told were family's right to know and to explore treatment options. 3) The influencing factors on disclosing dementia seemed to be sex (p<0.01) and marital status (p<0.005) in healthy elderly, and education (p<0.005), marital status (p<0.005), religion (p<0.025) and socioeconomic status (p<0.01).
The attitude toward disclosing diagnosis of dementia in Korean healthy elderly and family with dementia patients seemed to be more active. Therefore, doctors should prepare in mental attitude and knowledge to satisfy their need by active provision of information and education.


Normal elderly; Family with dementia patients; Disclosing dementia diagnosis; Reasons for disclosing; Influencing factors
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