Objectives: Apathy is a very common symptom in institutionalized elderly and represents a condition of both clinical and public health importance. The Apathy Evaluation Scale (AES) has been shown to be a valid and reliable tool for characterizing, quantifying and differentiating apathy in various health conditions. The aims of this study were to establish the validity and reliability of the Italian version of the AES, and to assess the severity of apathy in a sample of Italian institutionalized geriatric patients.
Method: Data were collected from clinical interviews using the AES informant version (AES-I). Associations between measures of apathy and depression, cognitive functioning and perceived quality of life were evaluated, as well as the effect of the living environment on apathetic symptoms.
Results: Multiple forms of reliability and validity (i.e. test-retest, internal consistency, discriminability of apathy rating from a standard measure of depression) were satisfied. Our results also show that the characteristics of the care setting may affect the severity of apathetic symptoms.
Conclusions: The AES-I Italian version is a reliable and valid instrument for measuring apathy in Italian patients, also allowing a direct comparison with data gathered in other countries.