ISSN 2079-6617 (Print)
ISSN 2309-9828 (Online)
Psychological predictors of apathy in the middle and late adulthood

Psychological predictors of apathy in the middle and late adulthood

PDF (Rus)

Recieved: 05/15/2021

Accepted: 06/03/2021

Published: 07/30/2020

Keywords: apathy; depression; subjective vitality; middle adulthood; late adulthood

p.: 88-97

DOI: 10.11621/npj.2021.0208

Available online: 30.07.2021

To cite this article:

Zolotareva Alena A., Averina Polina A., Timoshina Anastasia L.. Psychological predictors of apathy in the middle and late adulthood. // National Psychological Journal 2021. 2. p.88-97. doi: 10.11621/npj.2021.0208

Copied to Clipboard

Issue 2, 2021

Zolotareva Alena A. HSE University

Averina Polina A. HSE University

Timoshina Anastasia L. HSE University


Background. Apathy is one of the most common symptoms in the adulthood, however, its psychological predictors are still poorly understood.

Objective. This study was aimed to examine the psychological predictors of apathy in the middle and late adulthood.

Design. The sample consisted of 188 participants aged 50 to 83 years. This study is cross-sectional. Potential predictors of apathy (i.e., depression, subjective vitality, subjective happiness and satisfaction with life) were evaluated using multiple regression analysis. The diagnostic battery included the Zolotareva’s Apathy Scale and Russian-language versions of the Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS-SF), Subjective Vitality Scale (SVS), Subjective Happiness Scale (SHS), Satisfaction With Life Scale (SWLS), and Satisfaction Index for the Third Age-Short Form (LSITA-SF).

Results. Multiple regression analysis has shown that subjective vitality is a negative specific predictor of apathy in the middle adulthood, and depression is a positive universal predictor of apathy in both middle and late adulthood.

Conclusion. The findings can be used in the Russian gerontopsychology to prevent apathy in persons with depressive symptoms and a low level of subjective vitality.


Aleksandrova L.A. (2014). Psikhologiya. Zhurnal Vysshei shkoly ekonomiki (Subjective vitality as a research object), 11 (1), 133–163. (In Russ.).

Alexopoulos E.C. (2010). Introduction to multivariate regression analysis. Hippokratia, 14, 23–28.

Ayers E., Shapiro M., Holtzer R., Barzilai N., Milman S., Verghese J. (2017). Symptoms of apathy independently predict incident frailty and disability in community-dwelling older adults. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 78 (5), e529–e536. doi: 10.4088/JCP.15m10113

Barrett A.J., Murk P.J. (2010). Life Satisfaction Index for the Third Age-Short Form (LSITA-SF): An improved and briefer measure of successful aging. Presented at the Midwest Research-to-Practice Conference in Adult, Continuing, Community and Extension Education, Northeastern Illinois University, Chicago, IL, October 21–23. Obtained online on May 2, 2010 at doi: 10.13140/2.1.1937.4085

Blanchflower D.G. (2021). Is happiness U-shaped everywhere? Age and subjective well-being in 145 countries. Journal of Population Economics, 34, 575–624. doi: 10.1007/s00148-020-00797-z

Brodaty H., Altendorf A., Withall, A., Sachdev, P. (2010). Do people become more apathetic as they grow older? A longitudinal study in healthy individuals. International Psychogeriatrics, 22 (3), 426. doi: 10.1017/S1041610209991335

Chang L.C., Kao I.C. (2019). Enhancing social support and subjective vitality among older adults through leisure education. International Psychogeriatrics, 31 (12), 1839–1840. doi: 10.1017/S1041610219000103

Chen Y.J., Li X.X., Pan B., Wang B., Jing G.Z., Liu Q.Q., Li Y.F., Bing Z.T., Yang, K.H., Han, X.M., Ge, L. (2021). Non-pharmacological interventions for older adults with depressive symptoms: a network meta-analysis of 35 randomized controlled trials. Aging and Mental Health, 25 (5), 773–786. doi: 10.1080/13607863.2019.1704219

Diener E. (1984). Subjective well-being. Psychological Bulletin, 95 (3), 542–575. doi: 10.1037/0033-2909.95.3.542

Groeneweg-Koolhoven I., Ploeg M., Comijs H.C., Penninx B.W., van der Mast R.C., Schoevers R.A., Rhebergen D., van Exel E. (2017). Apathy in early and late-life depression. Journal of Affective Disorders, 223, 76–81. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2017.07.022

Holvast F., Massoudi B., Voshaar R.C.O., Verhaak P.F.M. (2017). Non-pharmacological treatment for depressed older patients in primary care: A systematic review and meta-analysis. PLoS One, 12 (9), e0184666. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0184666

Ishii S., Weingtraub N., Mervis J.R. (2009). Apathy: a common psychiatric syndrome in the elderly. Journal of the American Medical Directors Association, 10 (6), 381–393. doi: 10.1016/j.jamda.2009.03.007

Krause M., Gutsmiedl K., Bighelli I., Schneider-Thoma J., Chaimani A., Leucht S. (2019). Efficacy and tolerability of pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions in older patients with major depressive disorder: A systematic review, pairwise and network meta-analysis. European Neuropsychopharmacology, 20 (9), 1003–1022. doi: 10.1016/j.euroneuro.2019.07.130

Kutlubaev M.A., Akhmadeeva L.R. (2015). Nevrologiya, nejropsihiatriya, psihosomatika (The symptoms of pathological fatigue, apathy, and depression in patients after stroke), 7 (2), 16–21. doi: 10.14412/2074-2711-2015-2-16-21 (In Russ.).

Liders A.G. (2000). Psihologiya zrelosti i stareniya (The crisis of old age: A hypothesis about its psychological content), 2, 6–11. (In Russ.).

Lin Z., Yang R., Li K., Yi G., Li Z., Guo J., Zhang Z., Junxiang P., Liu Y., Oi S., Huang G. (2020). Establishment of age group classification for risk stratification in glioma patients. BMC Neurology, 20, 310. doi: 10.1186/s12883-020-01888-w

Lyubomirsky S., Lepper H.S. (1999). A measure of subjective happiness: Preliminary reliability and construct validation. Social Indicators Research, 46 (2), 137–155. doi: 10.1023/a:1006824100041

Marin R.S. (1990). Differential diagnosis and classification of apathy. American Journal of Psychiatry, 147 (1), 22–30. doi: 10.1176/ajp.147.1.22

Maruta M., Makizako H., Ikeda Y., Miyata H., Nakamura A., Han G., Shimokihara, S., Tokuda K., Kubozono T., Ohishi M., Tabira T. (2021). Association between apathy and satisfaction with meaningful activities in older adults with mild cognitive impairment: A population-based cross-sectional study. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry. doi: 10.1002/gps.5544

Mather M. (2012). The emotion paradox in the aging brain. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1251 (1), 33–49. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.2012.06471.x

Medley M.L. (1980). Life satisfaction across four stages of adult life. International Journal of Aging and Human Development, 11 (3), 193–209. doi: 10.2190/D4LG-ALJQ-8850-GYDV

Melehin A.I. (2015). Training theory of mind in old age. Klinicheskaia i spetsial’naia psikhologiia (Clinical and special psychology), 4 (1). Available at: (Accessed 01.06.2021). (In Russ.).

Montoya-Murillo G., Ibarretxe-Balbao N., Peña J., Ojeda N. (2019). The impact of apathy on cognitive performance in the elderly. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 34 (5), 657–665. doi: 10.1002/gps.5062

Osin E.N., Leont’ev D.A. (2020). Brief Russian-language instruments to measure subjective well-being: psychometric properties and comparative analysis. Monitoring obshchestvennogo mneniya: ekonomicheskie i sotsial’nye peremeny (Public opinion monitoring: economic and social changes) 1, 117–142. doi: 10.14515/monitoring.2020.1.06. (In Russ.).

Ostapenko V.S. (2017). Rasprostranennost’ i struktura geriatricheskikh sindromov u patsientov ambulatorno-poliklinicheskikh uchrezhdenii g. Moskvy (Prevalence and Structure of Geriatric Syndromes in Patients of Outpatient Clinics in Moscow). Ph.D. (Medicine). Moscow. (In Russ.).

Ryan R.M., Frederick C.M. (1997). On energy, personality and health: Subjective vitality as a dynamic reflection of well-being. Journal of Personality, 65, 3, 529–565. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-6494.1997.tb00326.x

Sapogova E.E. (2011). Existential psychological analysis of old age. Kul’turno-istoricheskaya psihologiya (Cultural historical psychology), 3, 75–81. (In Russ.)

Seo J.G., Lee G.H., Park S.P. (2017). Apathy in people with epilepsy and its clinical significance: A case-control study. Seizure, 51, 80–86. doi: 10.1016/j.seizure.2017.08.003

Sergienko E.A., Kharlamenkova N.E. (2018). Psychological factors of well-being aging. Vestnik Sankt-Peterburgskogo universiteta. Psihologiya i pedagogika (Bulletin of St. Petersburg University. Psychology and pedagogy, 8 (3), 243–257. doi: 10.21638/11701/spbu16.2018.303 (In Russ.).

Shamsalinia A., Moradi M., Rad R.E., Ghadimi R., Farahani M.A., Masoudi R., Rabiei L., Ghaffari E. (2021). Design and psychometric evaluation of epilepsy-related apathy scale (E-RAS) in adults with epilepsy: A sequential exploratory mixed methods design. BMC Neurology, 21, 121. doi: 10.1186/s12883-021-02139-2

Sheikh J.I., Yesavage J.A. (1986). Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS). Recent evidence and development of a shorter version. In T.L. Brink (Eds.), Clinical Gerontology: A Guide to Assessment and Intervention (pp. 165–173). NY: The Haworth Press, Inc.

Strizhitskaya O.Y. (2017a). On the empirical study of gerotranscendence. Internet-zhurnal “Mir nauki” (Internet Journal “The peace of sience”), 5 (6). Available at: (In Russ.)

Strizhitskaya O.Y. (2017b). Emotions and ageing: Modern paradigms and directions. Sovremennaya zarubezhnaya psihologiya (Modern Foreign Psychology), 6 (3), 71–76. doi: 10.17759/jmfp.2017060308 (In Russ.).

Westendorp B.G.J., Schalkwijk F.H. (2014). When longevity meets vitality. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, 73 (3), 407–412. doi: 10.1017/S0029665114000573

Won D., Bae J.S., Byun H., Seo K.B. (2020). Enhancing subjective well-being through physical activity for the elderly in Korea: A meta-analysis approach. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17, 262. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17010262

World Health Organization. (2001). Men, ageing and health: Achieving health across the life span. World Health Organization, Geneva.

Zolotareva A.A. (2020). Psychometric analysis of the new apathy scale. Psikhologiya. Zhurnal Vysshei shkoly ekonomiki (Pscyhology. Journal of High School of Economics), 17 (2), 191–209. doi: 10.17323/1813-8918-2020-2-191-209. (In Russ.).

To cite this article:

Zolotareva Alena A., Averina Polina A., Timoshina Anastasia L.. Psychological predictors of apathy in the middle and late adulthood. // National Psychological Journal 2021. 2. p.88-97. doi: 10.11621/npj.2021.0208

Copied to Clipboard