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Full-Length Research Report

Dementia Worry and the Perception of Personal Risk

A Longitudinal Study

Published Online:https://doi.org/10.1024/1662-9647/a000247

Abstract. The research examined dementia worry and the perception of personal dementia risk based on a 2-year longitudinal online study (N = 129, 21–79 yrs). Participants completed questionnaires on attitudes, experiences, and worries concerning dementia. A fully saturated cross-lagged model was estimated. Results show that dementia worry was moderately stable, and that changes were unrelated to perceived risk or family history. In contrast, perceived dementia risk was more prone to change and was positively associated with prior dementia worry but not vice versa. Having a family history of dementia was cross-sectionally, but not longitudinally, associated with greater worry and higher perceived risk. Because of the limited variability of dementia worry, focusing on perception of personal risk is a promising approach. Future research may benefit from differentiating the plasticity of the two constructs.

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