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The impact of past and present preferences on stimulus engagement in nursing home residents with dementia


Cohen-Mansfield, Jiska, Marx, Marcia S., Thein, Khin, Dakheel-Ali, Maha


Aging & Mental Health, Volume: 14, No.: 1, Pages.: 67-73

Year of Publication



Objectives: We examined engagement with stimuli in 193 nursing home residents with dementia. We hypothesized that activities and stimuli based on a person’s past and current preferences would result in more engagement than other activities/stimuli. Method: The expanded version of the self-identity questionnaire [Cohen-Mansfield, J., Golander, H. & Arheim, G. (2000)] was used to determine participants’ past/present interests (as reported by relatives) in the following areas: art, music, babies, pets, reading, television, and office work. We utilized the observational measurement of engagement (Cohen-Mansfield, J., Dakheel-Ali, M., & Marx, M.S. (2009). Results: Analysis revealed that residents with current interests in music, art, and pets were more engaged by stimuli that reflect these interests than residents without these interests. Conclusion: Our findings demonstrate the utility of determining a person’s preferences for stimuli in order to predict responsiveness. Lack of prediction for some stimuli may reflect differences between past preferences and activities that are feasible in the present. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved). (journal abstract)

Bibtex Citation

@article{Cohen_Mansfield_2010, doi = {10.1080/13607860902845574}, url = {}, year = 2010, month = {jan}, publisher = {Informa {UK} Limited}, volume = {14}, number = {1}, pages = {67--73}, author = {Jiska Cohen-Mansfield and Marcia S. Marx and Khin Thein and Maha Dakheel-Ali}, title = {The impact of past and present preferences on stimulus engagement in nursing home residents with dementia}, journal = {Aging {&} Mental Health} }


attention, babies, dementia, engagement, geriatric patients, hospitalized patients, nursing home residents, nursing homes, preferences, stimulation, stimulation preferences, stimuli, stimulus engagement, various, with, work

Countries of Study


Types of Dementia

Dementia (general / unspecified)

Types of Study


Type of Outcomes



Nursing Homes

Type of Interventions

Non-pharmacological Treatment

Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions

Animal / Pet Therapy, Arts and Music Interventions (including Art and Music Therapy), Other