The (fatalistic) present as experienced by individuals with Alzheimer’s disease: a preliminary study
The “time perspectives theory” describes how individuals emphasize some time frames over others (e.g., present vs. future) and thus create their unique approach to time perception. Building on this theory, we investigated three time orientations in Alzheimer’s disease (AD): (1) present-hedonistic orientation, which focuses on current sensations and pleasures without considering the future, (2) present-fatalistic orientation, characterized by a bias of hopelessness and helplessness toward the future, and (3) future orientation, which focuses on achieving personal goals and future consequences of present actions.
Participants with mild AD (n = 30) and controls (n = 33) were assessed with a questionnaire regarding time perspectives and a questionnaire of depression.
Results demonstrated low future orientation and high present-fatalistic orientation in AD participants, whereas older adults demonstrated the reverse pattern. Depression positively correlated with fatalistic-present orientation, but negatively correlated with hedonistic-present and future orientations.
Although our findings are preliminary and the sample size is small, depression in mild AD seems to be related with a fatalistic orientation toward the present, as well as a hopeless and helpless perspective on the future, an orientation that results in little desire to enjoy the present.
KeywordsAlzheimer’s disease Depression Future thinking Time perspectives
The work was supported by the LABEX (excellence laboratory, program investment for the future), DISTALZ (Development of Innovative Strategies for a Transdisciplinary approach to Alzheimer disease), and the EU Interreg 2 Seas Programme 2014–2020 (co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund). This research was also supported in part (DK) by the Intramural Research Program of the National Institute on Aging, NIH.
Compliance with ethical standards
All participants provided informed consent, and the study was conducted in accordance with the guidelines in The Declaration of Helsinki as well as those of the ethics committee of the Hospital of Tourcoing.
Conflict of interests
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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