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Emotional distress with dementia: a systematic review using corpus?based analysis and metaethnography

Petty, Stephanie; Harvey, Kevin; Griffiths, Amanda; Coleston-Shields, Donna Maria; Dening, Tom


Stephanie Petty

Amanda Griffiths

Donna Maria Coleston-Shields

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Clinical Professor in Dementia Research


Objective: More understanding is needed about the emotional experiences of dementia from the perspective of the individual. This understanding can then inform the provision of health care to meet individual needs. This systematic review aimed to present all available descriptions of emotional distress and explanations for emotional distress experienced by individuals with dementia, articulated personally and by others.
Methods: A systematic mixed?method review identified literature that was screened and quality appraised. Data were analysed quantitatively and qualitatively using corpus?based methods and meta?ethnography.
Results: The 121 included studies showed that individuals with dementia have expressed emotional distress comprehensibly. Family, professional caregivers, clinicians, and academic writers have also observed and described extreme emotional experiences. Feeling fearful and lonely were predominant and show the importance of anxiety in dementia. Explanations for emotional distress included threats to universal, human needs for identity, belonging, hope, and predictability.
Conclusions: The variable and personal emotional experiences of individuals with dementia are well described and should not continue to be overlooked. Limitations, future research, and clinical implications are discussed.


Petty, S., Harvey, K., Griffiths, A., Coleston-Shields, D. M., & Dening, T. (in press). Emotional distress with dementia: a systematic review using corpus?based analysis and metaethnography. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 28, 2018
Online Publication Date Mar 2, 2018
Deposit Date Mar 5, 2018
Publicly Available Date Mar 3, 2019
Journal International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
Print ISSN 0885-6230
Electronic ISSN 0885-6230
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Keywords anxiety, corpus linguistics, dementia, emotion, meta?ethnography
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Additional Information This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Petty S, Harvey K, Griffiths A, Coleston DM, Dening T. Emotional distress with dementia: A systematic review using corpus-based analysis and meta-ethnography. Int J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2018;1–9, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving


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