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1.  Predictors of Change in Quality of Life in Older Adults with Generalized Anxiety Disorder 
International psychogeriatrics / IPA  2014;27(7):1207-1215.
Quality of life (QOL) is lower in older adults with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). QOL generally improves following cognitive-behavioral treatment for GAD. Little is known, however, about additional variables predicting changes in QOL in older adults with GAD. This study examined predictors of change in QOL among older participants in a randomized clinical trial of cognitive behavioral thera for GAD, relative to enhanced usual care.
Hierarchical multilevel mixed-model analyses were used to examine inter-individual and intra-individual factors that predicted QOL over time. Predictors were categorized into treatment, personal and clinical characteristics.
QOL improved over time, and there was significant variability between participants in change in QOL. Controlling for treatment condition, baseline general self-efficacy, baseline social support, within-person variation in worry and depression and average levels of depression across different time points predicted changes in QOL.
QOL has increasingly been used as an outcome measure in treatment outcome studies to focus on overall improvement in functioning. Attention to improvement in symptoms of depression and worry, along with psychosocial variables, such as social support and self-efficacy, may help improve QOL in older adults with GAD.
PMCID: PMC4502441  PMID: 25497362
generalized anxiety disorder; quality of life; predictors; older adults
2.  Treating late-life GAD in primary care: An effectiveness pilot study 
To increase sustainability of Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) in primary care for late-life anxiety, we incorporated non-expert counselors, options for telephone meetings, and integration with primary care clinicians.
This open trial examines the feasibility, satisfaction and clinical outcomes of CBT delivered by experienced and non-experienced counselors for older adults with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Clinical outcomes assessed worry (Penn State Worry Questionnaire), GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder Severity Scale), and anxiety (Beck Anxiety Inventory and Structured Interview Guide for Hamilton Anxiety Scale).
Following 3 months of treatment, Cohen’s d effect sizes for worry and anxiety ranged from .48 to .78. Patients treated by experienced and non-experienced counselors had similar reductions in worry and anxiety, although treatment outcomes were more improved on the Beck Anxiety Inventory for experienced therapists.
Preliminary results suggest adapted CBT can effectively reduce worry. The piloted modifications can provide acceptable and feasible evidence-based care.
PMCID: PMC3644354  PMID: 23588228
cognitive behavioral therapy; generalized anxiety disorder; primary care; older adults; mental health
3.  Distinguishing Features of Cancer Patients Who Smoke: Pain, Symptom Burden, and Risk for Opioid Misuse 
Although many cancer patients who have pain are smokers, the extent of their symptom burden and risk for opioid misuse are not well understood. In this study we analyzed records of patients being treated for cancer pain, 94 of whom were smokers and 392 of whom were non-smokers, to determine smoking status group differences. Smokers had significantly higher pain intensity, fatigue, depression, and anxiety than non-smokers (Independent samples t-tests P <0.002). Smokers were at higher risk for opioid misuse based on the short form of the Screener and Opioid Assessment for Patients with Pain (SOAPP). Specifically, smokers endorsed more frequent problems with mood swings, taking medications other than how they are prescribed, history of illegal drug use and history of legal problems (Chi-square tests P ≤0.002). Changes in pain and opioid use were examined in a subset of patients (146 non-smokers and 46 smokers) who were receiving opioid therapy on at least two of the three data time points (consult, follow-up 1 month after consult, follow-up 6-9 months after consult). Results based on multilevel linear modeling showed that over a period of approximately 6 months, smokers continued to report significantly higher pain than non-smokers. Both smokers and non-smokers reported a significant decline in pain across the six-month period; the rate of decline did not differ across smokers and non-smokers. No significant difference over time was found in opioid use between smokers and non-smokers. These findings will guide subsequent studies and inform clinical practice, particularly the relevancy of smoking cessation.
PMCID: PMC3947914  PMID: 23010143
Smoking; cancer pain; opioids
4.  Persistent chemoneuropathy in patients receiving the plant alkaloids paclitaxel and vincristine 
Chemoneuropathy remains a painful, burdensome complication of cancer treatment for patients receiving a range of chemotherapeutics, yet the cause and persistence of this condition are not fully documented. This study was designed to quantify the longevity of and contributions to neuropathy following treatment with the plant alkaloids paclitaxel and vincristine.
Quantitative sensory testing was conducted approximately 18 months apart on 14 patients, seven of which had been treated with paclitaxel and seven with vincristine and compared to data from 18 healthy control subjects. In addition, skin biopsies were obtained to investigate changes in the density of Meissner’s corpuscles and epidermal nerve fibers (ENFs), the loss of which is thought to contribute to multiple forms of neuropathy.
Impairments in motor skills, as measured by a grooved peg-board, were found. Deficits in touch detection were observed using von Frey monofilaments, as were changes in sharpness detection using a weighted needle device. Using a Peltier device, warmth and heat detection were impaired. These deficits were consistent across time. Remarkably, the average length of time patients reported painful neuropathy was over four and a half years. Skin biopsies were found to be deficient in Meissner’s corpuscles and ENFs.
The combination of widespread deficits in sensory testing and decreases in skin innervation for cancer patients receiving paclitaxel or vincristine document a persistent polyneuropathy which severely impacts these patients. Decreases in Meissner’s corpuscles and ENFs indicate a possible mechanism for the neuropathy.
PMCID: PMC3581748  PMID: 23228992
Chemoneuropathy; Paclitaxel; Vincristine; Epidermal nerve fiber; Meissner’s corpuscle
5.  The Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index in Older Primary Care Patients with Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Pyschometrics and Outcomes Following Cognitive Behavioral Therapy 
Psychiatry research  2012;199(1):24-30.
The Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) is a widely used, comprehensive self-report measure of sleep quality and impairment, which has demonstrated good psychometric properties within various populations, including older adults. However, the psychometric properties of the PSQI and its component scores have not been evaluated for older adults with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Additionally, changes in PSQI global or component scores have not been reported following cognitive-behavioral treatment (CBT) of late-life GAD. This study examined (1) the psychometric properties of the PSQI within a sample of 216 elderly primary care patients age 60 or older with GAD who were referred for treatment of worry and/or anxiety; as well as (2) response to CBT, relative to usual care, for 134 patients with principal or coprincipal GAD. The PSQI demonstrated good internal consistency reliability and adequate evidence of construct validity. Those receiving CBT experienced greater reductions in PSQI global scores at post-treatment, relative to those receiving usual care. Further, PSQI global and domain scores pertaining to sleep quality and difficulties falling asleep (i.e., sleep latency and sleep disturbances) demonstrated response to treatment over a 12-month follow-up period. Overall, results highlight the usefulness of the PSQI global and component scores for use in older adults with GAD.
PMCID: PMC3401329  PMID: 22503380
Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index; psychometrics; generalized anxiety disorder; elderly; cognitive behavioral therapy
6.  Treatment Response for Late-Life Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Moving Beyond Symptom-Based Measures 
Response to treatment for late-life generalized anxiety disorder has been defined by a variety of methods, all based on statistically significant reductions in symptom severity. However, it is unknown whether these improvements in symptom severity are associated with meaningful differences in everyday functioning. The current study used four methods to define response to treatment for 115 primary care patients, age 60 and older, with a principal or co-principal diagnosis of generalized anxiety disorder. The methods examined included percent improvement, reliable change index and minimal clinically significant differences. Agreement among classification methods and their associations with general and mental health related quality of life were assessed. Results indicated moderate agreement among symptom-based classification methods and significant associations with measures of quality of life.
PMCID: PMC3187557  PMID: 21964278
GAD; older adults; treatment response; quality of life
7.  Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Generalized Anxiety Disorder Among Older Adults in Primary Care: A Randomized Clinical Trial 
Jama  2009;301(14):1460-1467.
Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) is effective for late-life generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), but, only pilot studies have been conducted in primary care, where older adults most often seek treatment. .
To examine effects of CBT relative to enhanced usual care (EUC) in older adults with GAD in primary care.
Design, Setting, and Participants
A randomized clinical trial with 134 older adults (mean age, 66.9 years) recruited from March 2004 to August 2006 in two primary care settings. Treatment was provided for 3 months; assessments were conducted at baseline, post-treatment (3 months), and over a 12-month follow-up (6, 9, 12, and 15 months).
CBT (n = 70) was conducted in the primary care clinics. Treatment included education and awareness, relaxation training, cognitive therapy, exposure, problem-solving skills training, and behavioral sleep management. Patients assigned to EUC (n = 64) received biweekly calls to ensure patient safety and provide minimal support.
Main Outcome Measures
Primary outcomes included worry severity (Penn State Worry Questionnaire) and GAD severity (GAD Severity Scale).. Secondary outcomes included anxiety (Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale, Beck Anxiety Inventory), coexistent depressive symptoms (Beck Depression Inventory II), and physical/mental health quality of life (SF-12).
CBT significantly improved worry severity [45.6; 95% CI 44.4 to 47.8; vs. 54.4; 95% CI 51.4 to 57.3; p < .0001), depressive symptoms (10.2; 95% CI 8.5 to 11.9; vs. 12.8; 95% CI 10.5 to 15.1; p = .02), and general mental health (49.6; 95% CI 47.4 to 51.8; vs. 45.3; 95% CI 42.6 to 47.9; p=.008) compared with EUC. . According to intent-to-treat analyses, response rates defined according to worry severity were higher following CBT than EUC at 3 months (40.0% [28/70] vs. 21.9% [14/64], p = .02).
Compared to EUC, CBT resulted in greater improvement in worry severity, depressive symptoms, and general mental health for older patients with GAD in primary care.
PMCID: PMC3328789  PMID: 19351943
8.  The Roles of Social Support and Self-efficacy in Physical Health's Impact on Depressive and Anxiety Symptoms in Older Adults 
Physical illness may precipitate psychological distress among older adults. This study examines whether social support and self-efficacy moderate the associations between physical health and depression and anxiety. Predictions were tested in 222 individuals age 60 or older presenting for help with worry. Physical health was assessed through self-report (subjective) and physical diagnoses (objective). Objective physical health did not have a significant association with depression or anxiety. Worse subjective physical health was associated with increased somatic anxiety, but not with depression or worry. The relationship between subjective physical health and depressive symptoms was moderated by self-efficacy and social support. As predicted, when self-efficacy was low, physical health had its strongest negative association with depressive symptoms such that as physical health improved, depressive symptoms also improved. However, the moderation effect was not as expected for social support; at high levels of social support, worse physical health was associated with increased depressive affect.
PMCID: PMC3053526  PMID: 21110074
elderly; depression; anxiety; social support; self-efficacy; physical health
9.  Comparison of Self-report Measures for Identifying Late-life Generalized Anxiety in Primary Care 
This study evaluated the Penn State Worry Questionnaire, Penn State Worry Questionnaire—Abbreviated, and the Generalized Anxiety Disorder Questionnaire-IV for identifying generalized anxiety disorder in older medical patients. Participants were 191 of 281 patients screened for a clinical trial evaluating cognitive-behavior treatment, n = 110 with generalized anxiety disorder, 81 without. Participants completed the Penn State Worry Questionnaire and Generalized Anxiety Disorder Questionnaire-IV at pretreatment. Kappa coefficients estimated agreement with the Structured Clinical Interview for Diagnosis. Receiver operating characteristic curves compared sensitivity and specificity of self-report measures. The Penn State Worry Questionnaire (cutoff = 50) provided the strongest prediction of generalized anxiety disorder (sensitivity, 76%; specificity, 73%; 75% correctly classified; kappa = .49. Item 2 of the Generalized Anxiety Disorder Questionnaire-IV demonstrated comparable accuracy. The Penn State Worry Questionnaire, Generalized Anxiety Disorder Questionnaire-IV, and briefer versions of these measures may be useful in identifying late-life generalized anxiety disorder in medical settings.
PMCID: PMC2597543  PMID: 19017779
late-life anxiety; PSWQ; GAD-Q-IV; PRIME-MD; primary care psychology; sensitivity; specificity
10.  Psychometric Properties of the Depression Anxiety and Stress Scale-21 in Older Primary Care Patients 
Journal of affective disorders  2008;110(3):248-259.
The Depression Anxiety Stress Scale (DASS) was designed to efficiently measure the core symptoms of anxiety and depression and has demonstrated positive psychometric properties in adult samples of anxiety and depression patients and student samples. Despite these findings, the psychometric properties of the DASS remain untested in older adults, for whom the identification of efficient measures of these constructs is especially important.
To determine the psychometric properties of the DASS 21-item version in older adults, we analyzed data from 222 medical patients seeking treatment to manage worry. Consistent with younger samples, a three-factor structure best fit the data. Results also indicated good internal consistency, excellent convergent validity, and good discriminative validity, especially for the depression scale. Receiver operating curve analyses indicated that the DASS-21 predicted the diagnostic presence of generalized anxiety disorder and depression as well as other commonly used measures.
These data suggest that the DASS may be used with older adults in lieu of multiple scales designed to measure similar constructs, thereby reducing participant burden and facilitating assessment in settings with limited assessment resources.
PMCID: PMC2709995  PMID: 18304648
Depression Anxiety Stress Scale; Older Adults; GAD; Anxiety; Assessment
Depression and anxiety  2009;26(1):E10-E15.
The Generalized Anxiety Disorder Severity Scale (GADSS) is an interview rating scale designed specifically for assessing symptom severity of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), which has demonstrated positive psychometric data in a sample of adult primary care patients with GAD and panic disorder. However, the psychometric properties of the GADSS have not been evaluated for older adults.
This study evaluated the psychometric properties of the GADSS, administered via telephone, with a sample of older primary care patients (n = 223) referred for treatment of worry and/or anxiety.
The GADSS demonstrated adequate internal consistency, strong inter-rater reliability, adequate convergent validity, poor diagnostic accuracy, and mixed discriminant validity.
Results provide mixed preliminary support for use of the GADSS with older adults. Depression and Anxiety 26:E10–E15, 2009.
PMCID: PMC2709998  PMID: 18839400
Generalized Anxiety Disorder Severity Scale; generalized anxiety disorder; elderly; primary care; measurement; psychometrics
12.  Generalized Anxiety Disorder in Older Medical Patients: Diagnostic Recognition, Mental Health Management and Service Utilization 
Primary care physicians often treat older adults with Generalized Anxiety Disorder.
To estimate physician diagnosis and recognition of anxiety and compare health service use among older adults with GAD with two comparison samples with and without other DSM diagnoses.
Participants were 60+ patients of a multi-specialty medical organization. Administrative database and medical records were reviewed for a year. Differences in frequency of health service use were analyzed with logistic regression and between-subjects analysis of covariance.
Physician diagnosis of GAD was 1.5% and any anxiety was 9%, and recognition of anxiety symptoms was 34% in older adults with GAD. After controlling for medical comorbidity, radiology appointments were increased in the GAD group relative to those with and without other psychiatric diagnoses, χ2 (2, N = 225) = 4.75, p < .05.
Most patients with anxiety do not have anxiety or symptoms documented in their medical records.
PMCID: PMC2684857  PMID: 19152056
Generalized anxiety disorder; Primary care; Older patients; Database study; Medical record review

Results 1-12 (12)