About this Journal Submit a Manuscript Table of Contents
Journal of Aging Research
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 674716, 12 pages
Research Article

Clinical Correlates of Awareness for Balance, Function, and Memory: Evidence for the Modality Specificity of Awareness

1Department of Psychology, Room 183 Arts Building, 9 Campus Drive, University of Saskatchewan, SK, Canada S7N 5A5
2School of Rehabilitation Science, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada L8S 1C7
3Canadian Centre for Health and Safety in Agriculture, University of Saskatchewan, SK, Canada S7N 5E5

Received 2 July 2013; Revised 8 October 2013; Accepted 9 October 2013; Published 16 January 2014

Academic Editor: F. Richard Ferraro

Copyright © 2014 Megan E. O'Connell et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Awareness in dementia is increasingly recognized not only as multifactorial, but also as domain specific. We demonstrate differential clinical correlates for awareness of daily function, awareness of memory, and the novel exploration of awareness of balance. Awareness of function was higher for participants with mild cognitive impairment (aMCI and non-aMCI) than for those with dementia (due to Alzheimer disease; AD and non-AD), whereas awareness of memory was higher for both non-aMCI and non-AD dementia patients than for those with aMCI or AD. Balance awareness did not differ based on diagnostic subgroup. Awareness of function was associated with instrumental activities of daily living and caregiver burden. In contrast, awareness of balance was associated with fall history, balance confidence, and instrumental activities of daily living. Clinical correlates of awareness of memory depended on diagnostic group: associations held with neuropsychological variables for non-AD dementia, but for patients with AD dementia, depression and instrumental activities of daily living were clinical correlates of memory awareness. Together, these data provide support for the hypothesis that awareness and dementia are not unitary and are, instead, modality specific.