Date on Senior Honors Thesis


Document Type

Senior Honors Thesis

Degree Name



Psychological and Brain Sciences

Author's Keywords

Alzheimer's disease; general public; education; traditional healthcare education; person-centered care education


Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a disease most people recognize, but have many misconceptions about. One way to decrease the amount of misconceptions about AD is to educate the general public on the disease. Many educational methods, such as person-centered care education, have been researched, but none have focused on the general public. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to compare two educational methods used today, reading a passage from a reliable online source (traditional educational method) and watching documentaries (person-centered care educational method), to find if a specific way of presenting them will prove efficient for Alzheimer’s education. The methods were measured by utilizing various scales to assess the level of knowledge about the disease (ADKS), the amount of fear one has of getting the disease (FADS), and the level of comfort one has as a potential caregiver (Revised Scale of Caregiving Self-Efficacy and Overall Caregiving Scale). Participants were placed in one of four conditions; passage only, documentaries only, passage/documentaries, and documentaries/passage. There was no significance found with knowledge, fear, and comfort between the conditional groups. However, there was significance in scores seen between conditions based on previous experience and demographics of participants. Opinions of the educational methods were also analyzed. Future research should explore how these concepts increase or decrease knowledge, fear, and comfort about AD with a numerous and diverse population of participants.

Lay Summary

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a mental disease that affects millions of people around the world today that causes the memory of older adults to become worse over time. Even though millions of people have been found to have AD, many people don’t understand what the disease is or how it can affect them. Not understanding the disease is a serious issue that needs to be decreased through education about the disease.

There have been two different types of education that have been proven to work very well. Reading or telling people facts about Alzheimer’s disease is one way, while showing videos of real people experiencing AD and their families who care for them is the other. Since these two types of education have been proven to work well in educating people about AD, they were shown to people in this study. This was done to understand if presenting them in a certain way could increase knowledge about AD, decrease fear of getting AD when at an older age, and to increase comfort when thinking about caring for a close relative or loved one with AD. The people in the study either read a passage with facts on AD, watched two videos showing people with AD and their families, or did both. Afterwards, they were given different tests and scales to measure their level of knowledge, fear, and comfort related to AD.

The current study found that knowledge, fear, and comfort related to AD did not change depending on how the people in the study were educated. However, having experience with AD before the study was found to affect the scores given on the tests and scales. Different backgrounds, such as age differences, were also found to affect scores.