Inappropriate sexual behaviors among community-dwelling patients with dementia

Marco Canevelli*, Flaminia Lucchini, C. Garofalo, Giuseppina Talarico, Alessandro Trebbastoni, Fabrizia D'Antonio, Letizia Imbriano, Patrizia Velotti, Carlo de Lena, Marina Gasparini, Giuseppe Bruno

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)



Inappropriate sexual behaviors (ISBs) represent challenging and stressful manifestations of dementia and are highly burdening for patients, families, and healthcare providers. Nevertheless, ISBs have so far attracted limited clinical and scientific interest compared with other neuropsychiatric symptoms occurring in dementing illnesses. The authors aimed to systematically investigate the prevalence and characteristics of ISBs in a population of patients with dementia attending a memory clinic.


In this cross-sectional study, individuals with dementia attending our memory clinic were consecutively enrolled between January 2015 and February 2016. Participating subjects underwent a detailed medical history collection and a comprehensive cognitive, functional, and neuropsychiatric assessment. The presence of ISBs (in the previous 30 days) was investigated by the adoption of an ad hoc questionnaire, administered to informants. A logistic regression model was carried out to identify sociodemographic and clinical variables associated with ISBs.


In the 195 patients (48.7% women) with dementia recruited for the study, ISBs were detected in 35 patients (17.9% of the total sample). The logistic regression model showed that male sex (OR: 5.14; 95% CI: 1.44-18.41) and anxiety (OR: 4.92; 95% CI: 1.44-16.84) were statistically significantly associated with the presence of ISBs.


ISBs represent common manifestations of dementing illnesses. Given the significant burden of ISBs on patients and families and the impact on care management, their occurrence should always be investigated in the clinical care of individuals with dementia. For this purpose, specific screening/assessment tools should be properly designed and validated.

Original languageEnglish
Article number365-371
JournalThe American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry: Official Journal of the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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