The role of mind theory in patients affected by neurodegenerative disorders and impact on caregiver burden

Caterina Formica, Lilla Bonanno, Antonino Todaro, Angela Marra, Antonella Alagna, Francesco Corallo, Silvia Marino, Alessia Bramanti, Simona De Salvo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: Theory of Mind (ToM) is defined as the ability to understand mental and emotional state. This ability is assessed also in neurodegenerative disease. Few studies have investigated the impact that social cognition of patients could have on caregiver burden. The aim of this study was to investigate a possible correlation in level of social cognition impairment between patients with different neurodegenerative disorders and their caregivers with possible impact on caregivers burden. Methods: we enrolled 48 patients with dementia divided in different groups: Fronto-Temporal Dementia (FTD), Alzheimer Disease (AD), and Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) and also the three groups of their respective caregivers. All subjects were submitted to ToM tests, and the caregiver groups also to Caregiver Burden Inventory (CBI) to evaluate level of burden. Results: Our results showed that ToM was more impaired in FTD patients and in their caregivers In addition, FTD group showed more impaired performances in tasks related to emotional skills. Conclusions: We suggested that ToM impairment of patients are related to ToM impairment of caregivers with differences of scores in caregiver groups. The caregiver difficulties to understand, attribute and describe emotional and mental states of their relatives develop distress and inability in burden management and disorders relative to neurodegenerative disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)291-295
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Clinical Neuroscience
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020


  • Alzheimer disease
  • Caregiver
  • Dementia
  • Fronto-temporal dementia
  • Mild cognitive impairment
  • Theory of mind

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Physiology (medical)


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