DOI: 10.1002/alz.078241 ISSN: 1552-5260

Awareness and knowledge of dementia amongst Brazilian Speech and Language Therapists: An investigation of its determinants through a national survey

Bárbara Costa Beber, Emily Viega Alves, Natalie Pereira, Maria Isabel Freitas D´Ávila, Marcela Silagi, Marcia L Fagundes Chaves, Brian Lawlor
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Neurology (clinical)
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Health Policy
  • Epidemiology



Communication disorders are a frequent problem among people with dementia and can negatively affect their lives. Speech and Language Therapists (SLTs) can improve the quality of life of dementia people if they are properly trained to intervene. This study aimed to investigate the level of awareness and knowledge that practicing SLTs from Brazil have about their role in the care of people with dementia, and to identify determinants of the awareness and knowledge.


We developed an online survey to collect information from the practicing Brazilian SLTs regarding clinical and demographic characteristics, knowledge about dementia (true or false questions), and awareness about their role in the care of people with dementia (sentences to rate in a likert scale). Uni and bivariate associations were then explored using Student´s t‐test, ANOVA and Pearson´s correlation test. Multiple regression analyses were conducted including the variables that presented p>0,2 in the bivariate analyses or that or considered relevant.


227 participants were included in the study. Participants presented a greater knowledge of the general concepts of dementia, while the answers were less accurate in the statements about primary progressive aphasia (Figure 1). Regarding the awareness of SLTs about their role in the care of people with dementia, most of them agreed that SLTs might help people with dementia, but few of them answered to feel confident to assess and treat people with dementia (Figure 2). A significant model was estimated for the level of knowledge (F = 16.12; df = 3 and 223; p<0.001), which explained 16.7% of the variability (adjusted R² = 0.167), while the significant estimated model for the level of awareness (F = 24.6; df = 2 and 224; p<0.001) explained 17.3% of its variability (adjusted R² = 0.173) (Table 1).


The knowledge and awareness about dementia among SLTs could be higher in many aspects. Also, they depend on each other and on the age of the professionals and their time of practice with dementia. The results suggest that if we improve awareness, we can improve knowledge and vice versa, and this must be considered when we plan actions to improve the education of those professionals in the future.

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