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Objectives: Studies of the prevalence and risk factors for behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD) have primarily been conducted in nursing home and clinic populations. Few population-based studies have been conducted in community-living persons with dementia. Methods: In this cross-sectional study, persons aged 65 and above who were living in the community were screened for dementia with the Chinese version of Mini-Mental State Examination (CMMSE) and Ability of Daily Living (ADL-14) scale. Participants with a diagnosis of dementia according to DSM-IV criteria made by trained neuropsychiatrists s were with the Neuropsychiatric Inventory assessed for BPSD by informant interview. Results: Among 1271 persons with dementia, 50.1% had at least one BPSD. Sleep disturbance was the most common symptom (21.9%), followed by irritability (19.6%), and apathy (15.7%). About 40% (N = 501) of these problems were clinically significant (NPI score > 4). The NPI score was significantly associated with the CMMSE score, ADL score and education. Conclusion: BPSD are common among community living Chinese people with dementia, but the relatively lower prevalence rate and different pattern of symptoms from those reported in the USA, UK and Japan suggest the possible influence of cultural background and psychosocial environment.

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