Prevalence, associations, and predictors of apathy in adult survivors of infantile (

Cliodhna Carroll, Peter Watson, Helen A Spoudeas, Michael M Hawkins, Isabel C H Clare, Anthony J Holland, Howard A Ring

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Apathy is associated with pervasive and disadvantageous effects on daily functioning. It has been observed transiently in some children after surgery for posterior fossa tumors. In this study, our objective was to examine prevalence, associations, and predictors of apathy in adult survivors of an infantile posterior fossa brain tumor (PFT).

METHODS: One hundred seventeen adult survivors of a childhood PFT diagnosed before age 5 years and 60 of their siblings were assessed in a cross-sectional study a mean of 32 years (range, 18-53 years) after survivors' initial tumor diagnoses, using the Marin Apathy Evaluation Scale (AES), the Weschler Abbreviated Scale of Intelligence and the Composite International Diagnostic Interview for psychiatric disorders.

RESULTS: Marin Apathy Evaluation Scale, the Weschler Abbreviated Scale of Intelligence reached or exceeded a criterion score for clinically significant apathy in 35% of survivors, compared with 18% in a sibling comparison group. In both siblings and survivors, apathy was associated with lower verbal and full-scale IQ and, among survivors, with having undergone partial rather than total tumor resection (independent of irradiation status). Apathy was not related to presence of concurrent International Classification of Diseases, 10(th) Revision, depression. Female sex was associated with late apathy after a PFT, with increased likelihood of women reaching the apathy criterion relative to men if they were survivors.

CONCLUSIONS: Clinically significant and potentially treatable apathy occurs relatively commonly in adult survivors of an infantile childhood PFT, particularly women. Clinicians, including those managing posterior fossa pathology in very young children, should be aware of this association, and future research should clarify whether specific treatment-related variables are implicated in increasing this risk of apathy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)497-505
Number of pages9
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2013


  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Apathy
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infratentorial Neoplasms
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Prognosis
  • Siblings
  • Survival Rate
  • Survivors
  • United Kingdom
  • Young Adult
  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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