Demographic and Contextual Factors Related to Knowledge About Alzheimer's Disease discusses the results obtained from 763 participants who completed the Alzheimer’s Disease Knowledge Scale, a 30 question true/false survey adopted from the ADKT designed to assess an individual’s understanding of Alzheimer’s on several dimensions including etiology, risk factors, course of the disease, and prevalence. The questionnaire was created for a wide range of groups including students, health care practitioners, and the general public. In the current study, the participating groups included undergraduate students, caregivers of someone with dementia, senior center staff, and professionals involved in dementia research and service provision. Not surprisingly, the knowledge of Alzheimer’s was highest among professionals working in the field. However, senior center staff and undergraduate students were significantly less knowledgeable on the disease. Overall, it appears that the respondents knew the most about assessment, treatment, and management of Alzheimer’s. They knew the least about risk factors and prevention, with the senior center staff scoring the worst in this category. The differences between Caucasian and African-American respondents were not significantly different, while Caucasian’s scored higher than Asian and multi-racial respondents.
Understanding where the gaps in knowledge about Alzheimer’s exist can help to guide education initiatives to increase awareness and improve supportive services. Given that a recent survey by the American Society on Aging and Met-Life found that 72% of respondents seek information on brain health from medical professionals, it seems that a tool such as the ADKS would prove useful to practitioners in anticipating and meeting these knowledge needs.