Attributional style and theory of mind in people with Alzheimer disease and persecutory delusions

Georgina Rowse, Simon McCarthy-Jones*, Rebecca Knowles, Rhiannon Corcoran, Richard P. Bentall

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    5 Citations (Scopus)


    OBJECTIVE: Between 7% and 40% of people with Alzheimer disease (AD) experience persecutory delusions (PDs) during the course of their dementia. Although attributional style and theory of mind processes have been linked with PDs in people with psychosis, they have not yet been examined in those with AD and PDs. The objective of this study was, hence, to explore the role of these cognitive processes in groups of participants with AD with and without PDs, as well as a nonclinical comparison group. METHOD: Measures of attributional style and theory of mind were administered to three groups: people with AD and PDs (n = 22), people with AD without PDs (n = 22), and a nonclinical group (n = 23). RESULTS: Although no clear differences in attributional style between the three groups were found, the group with AD and PDs were found to perform worse on the first-order (but not second-order) theory of mind task than the other two groups. CONCLUSIONS: Interventions designed to enhance theory of mind skills might be beneficial for individuals with AD and PDs.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)898-905
    Number of pages8
    JournalAmerican Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
    Issue number9
    Publication statusPublished - Sep 2013


    • Alzheimer disease
    • Attribution
    • Delusions
    • Persecutory
    • Theory of mind


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