All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Kristen L Triebel

Advisory Committee Members

Olivio J Clay

Michael Crowe

Henry R Griffith

Daniel C Marson

Document Type

Dissertation

Date of Award

2011

Degree Name by School

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) College of Arts and Sciences

Abstract

The Pfeffer Functional Activities Questionnaire (FAQ) was developed to assess instrumental activities of daily living involving higher level functional skills. The FAQ is included in the National Alzheimer's Coordinating Center's (NACC) Uniform Data Set (UDS) battery, to assess declines in functional abilities that may be related to cognitive decline. Previous studies have suggested that functional measures similar to the FAQ have multidimensional properties related to physical or cognitive demands. In this study, exploratory factor analyses (EFA) were conducted utilizing polychoric correlation matrices, a technique that is appropriate for ordinal data. EFAs were conducted for the entire NACC sample as well as three subsamples: Normal Control, MCI, and Dementia. For each EFA, a one-factor solution best fit the data, explaining 61 to 91% of the total variance. Hierarchical regression analyses examined the relationship between FAQ total scores and five domains of functioning (i.e., medical factors, physical functioning, neuropsychiatric functioning, neuropsychological test performance, and informant characteristics) after controlling for demographic factors. Again, this was applied to the entire NACC sample and each diagnostic group subsample. The most consistent predictors of FAQ total scores across all models included Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale, Neuropsychiatric Inventory Questionnaire, and neuropsychological test performance. Among the MCI and Dementia subgroups, informant characteristics also emerged as significant predictors.

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