Increasing numbers of patients are treated in integrated primary care mental health programs. The current study examined predictors of satisfaction with treatment in patients from a randomized clinical trial of late-life generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) in primary care. Higher treatment satisfaction was associated with receiving CBT rather than enhanced usual care. Treatment credibility, treatment expectancies, social support, and improvements in depression and anxiety symptoms predicted higher treatment satisfaction in the total sample. In the CBT group, only credibility and adherence with treatment predicted satisfaction. This suggests that older patients receiving CBT who believe more strongly in the treatment rationale and follow the therapist’s recommendations more closely are likely to report satisfaction at the end of treatment. In addition, this study found that adherence mediated the relationship between treatment credibility and treatment satisfaction. In other words, patients’ perceptions that the treatment made sense for them led to greater treatment adherence which then increased their satisfaction with treatment.
Primary Care; Psychotherapy; Generalized Anxiety Disorder; Older Adults; Treatment Satisfaction; Adherence; Expectancies; Social Support
Multisystemic therapy (MST) is effective for decreasing or preventing delinquency and other externalizing behaviors and increasing prosocial or adaptive behaviors. The purpose of this project was to review the literature examining the efficacy of MST for other child psychological and health problems reflecting non-externalizing behaviors, specifically difficulties related to child maltreatment, serious psychiatric illness [Serious psychiatric illness was defined throughout the current review paper as the “presence of symptoms of suicidal ideation, homicidal ideation, psychosis, or threat of harm to self or others due to mental illness severe enough to warrant psychiatric hospitalization based on the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (Level of care placement criteria for psychiatric illness. American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Washington, DC, 1996) level of care placement criteria for psychiatric illness” (Henggeler et al. in J Am Acad Child Psy 38:1331–1345, p. 1332, 1999b). Additionally, youth with “serious emotional disturbance (SED)” defined as internalizing and/or externalizing problems severe enough to qualify for mental health services in public school who were “currently in or at imminent risk of a costly out-of-home placement” (Rowland et al. in J Emot Behav Disord 13:13–23, pp. 13–14, 2005) were also included in the serious psychiatric illness category.], and health problems (i.e., obesity and treatment adherence for diabetes). PubMed, Web of Science, MEDLINE, and PsycINFO databases; Clinicaltrials.gov; DARE; Web of Knowledge; and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials were searched; and MST developers were queried to ensure identification of all relevant articles. Of 242 studies identified, 18 met inclusion criteria for review. These were combined in a narrative synthesis and critiqued in the context of review questions. Study quality ratings were all above mean scores reported in prior reviews. Mixed support was found for the efficacy of MST versus other treatments. In many cases, treatment effects for MST or comparison groups were not sustained over time. MST was efficacious for youth with diverse backgrounds. No studies discussed efficacy of MST provided in different treatment settings. Four studies found MST more cost-effective than a comparison treatment, leading to fewer out-of-home placements for youth with serious psychiatric illness or lower treatment costs for youth with poorly controlled diabetes.
Multisystemic; Treatment; Internalizing; Maltreatment; Health problems
We compared the psychometric performance of two validated self-report anxiety- symptom measures when rated by people with dementia versus collaterals (as proxies). Forty-one participants with mild-to-moderate dementia and their respective collaterals completed the Geriatric Anxiety Inventory, the Penn State Worry Questionnaire-Abbreviated, and a structured diagnostic interview. We used descriptive and nonparametric statistics to compare scores according to respondent characteristics. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves were calculated to establish the predictive validity of each instrument by rater type against a clinical diagnosis of an anxiety disorder. Participant and collateral ratings performed comparably for both instruments. However, collaterals tended to give more severe symptom ratings, and the best-performing cut-off scores were higher for collaterals. Our findings suggest that people with mild-to-moderate dementia can give reliable self-reports of anxiety symptoms, with validity comparable to reports obtained from collaterals. Scores obtained from multiple informants should be interpreted in context.
worry; anxiety; elders; dementia; self-ratings; proxy ratings
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.
Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index; psychometrics; generalized anxiety disorder; elderly; cognitive behavioral therapy
Older adults face a number of barriers to receiving psychotherapy, such as a lack of transportation and access to providers. One way to overcome such barriers is to provide treatment by telephone. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of cognitive behavioral therapy delivered by telephone (CBT-T) to older adults diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.
Randomized controlled trial.
Sixty participants ≥ 60 years of age with a diagnosis of Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, or Anxiety Disorder Not Otherwise Specified.
CBT-T vs. information-only comparison.
Co-primary outcomes included worry (Penn State Worry Questionnaire) and general anxiety (State Trait Anxiety Inventory). Secondary outcomes included clinician-rated anxiety (Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale), anxiety sensitivity (Anxiety Sensitivity Index), depressive symptoms (Beck Depression Inventory), quality of life (SF-36), and sleep (Insomnia Severity Index). Assessments were completed prior to randomization, immediately upon completion of treatment, and 6 months after completing treatment.
CBT-T was superior to information-only in reducing general anxiety (ES = 0.71), worry (ES = 0.61), anxiety sensitivity (ES = 0.85), and insomnia (ES = 0.82) at the post-treatment assessment; however, only the reductions in worry were maintained by the 6 month follow-up assessment (ES = 0.80).
These results suggest that CBT-T may be efficacious in reducing anxiety and worry in older adults, but additional sessions may be needed to maintain these effects.
anxiety; cognitive-behavioral therapy; elderly; Generalized Anxiety Disorder; Panic Disorder; telephone-delivered psychotherapy
The Rating Anxiety in Dementia (RAID; Shankar et al, 1999)is a clinical rating scale developed to evaluate anxiety in persons with dementia. This report explores the psychometric properties and clinical utility of a new structured interview format of the RAID (RAID-SI), developed to standardize administration and scoring based on information obtained from the patient, an identified collateral, and rater observation.
The RAID-SI was administered by trained master’s level raters. Participants were 32 persons with dementia who qualified for an anxiety treatment outcome study. Self-report anxiety, depression, and quality of life measures were administered to both the person with dementia and a collateral.
The RAID-SI exhibited adequate internal consistency reliability and inter-rater reliability. There was also some evidence of construct validity as indicated by significant correlations with other measures of patient-reported and collateral-reported anxiety, and non-significant correlations with collateral reports of patient depression and quality of life. Further, RAID-SI scores were significantly higher in persons with an anxiety diagnosis compared to those without an anxiety diagnosis.
There is evidence that the RAID-SI exhibits good reliability and validity in older adults with dementia. The advantage of the structured interview format is increased standardization in administration and scoring, which may be particularly important when RAID raters are not experienced clinicians.
dementia; anxiety; clinical interview; assessment; Rating for Anxiety in Dementia
Although peer interventionists have been successful in medication treatment-adherence interventions, their role in complex behavior-change approaches to promote entry and reentry into HIV care requires further investigation. The current study sought to describe and test the feasibility of a standardized peer-mentor training program used for MAPPS (Mentor Approach for Promoting Patient Self-Care), a study designed to increase engagement and attendance at HIV outpatient visits among high-risk HIV inpatients using HIV-positive peer interventionists to deliver a comprehensive behavioral change intervention. Development of MAPPS and its corresponding training program included collaborations with mentors from a standing outpatient mentor program. The final training program included (1) a half-day workshop; (2) practice role-plays; and (3) formal, standardized patient role-plays, using trained actors with “real-time” video observation (and ratings from trainers). Mentor training occurred over a 6-week period and required demonstration of adherence and skill, as rated by MAPPS trainers. Although time intensive, ultimate certification of mentors suggested the program was both feasible and effective. Survey data indicated mentors thought highly of the training program, while objective rating data from trainers indicated mentors were able to understand and display standards associated with intervention fidelity. Data from the MAPPS training program provide preliminary evidence that peer mentors can be trained to levels necessary to ensure intervention fidelity, even within moderately complex behavioral-change interventions. Although additional research is needed due to limitations of the current study (e.g., limited generalizability due to sample size and limited breadth of clinical training opportunities), data from the current trial suggest that training programs such as MAPPS appear both feasible and effective.
Overlap of cognitive and anxiety symptoms (i.e., difficulty concentrating, fatigue, restlessness) contributes to inconsistent, complicated assessment of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)in persons with dementia.
Anxious dementia patients completed a psychiatric interview, the Penn State Worry Questionnaire-Abbreviated, and the Rating for Anxiety in Dementia scale. Analyses to describe the 43 patients with and without GAD included the Wilcoxon Mann-Whitney two-sample test, Fisher’s exact test. Predictors of GAD diagnosis were identified using logistic regression.
Those with GAD were more likely to be male, have less severe dementia and endorsed more worry, and anxiety compared to patients without GAD. Gender, muscle tension and fatigue differentiated those with GAD from those without GAD.
Although this study is limited by a small sample, it describes clinical characteristics of GAD in dementia, highlighting the importance of muscle tension and fatigue in recognizing GAD in persons with dementia.
Generalized anxiety disorder; dementia; anxiety symptoms; dementia symptoms; differential diagnosis for generalized anxiety disorder/dementia
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.
GAD; older adults; treatment response; quality of life
While psychosocial interventions for late-life anxiety show positive outcomes, treatment effects are not as robust as in younger adults. To date, the reach of research has been limited to academic and primary care settings, with homogeneous samples. The current review examines recently funded and ongoing late-life anxiety research that uses innovative approaches to reach unique patient populations and tailor treatment content and delivery options to meet the unique needs of older adults.
A systematic search was conducted using electronic databases of funded clinical trials to identify ongoing psychosocial intervention studies targeting older adults with anxiety. The principal investigators of the studies were contacted for study details and preliminary data, if available. In some cases, the principal investigators of identified studies acted as referral sources in identifying additional studies.
Eleven studies met inclusion criteria and represented three areas of innovation: new patient groups, novel treatment procedures, and new treatment delivery options. Studies and their associated theoretical bases are discussed, along with preliminary results reported in published papers or conference presentations.
Psychosocial intervention trials currently in progress represent promising new strategies to facilitate engagement and improve outcomes among unique subsets of older adults with anxiety. Continued investigation of evidence-based treatments for geriatric anxiety will allow greater understanding of how best to tailor the interventions to fit the needs of older adults.
psychosocial treatment; late life anxiety; generalized anxiety disorder; older adults; review
Despite the availability of evidence-based psychotherapies for depression and anxiety, they are underused in non-mental health specialty settings such as primary care. Hybrid effectiveness-implementation designs have the potential to evaluate clinical and implementation outcomes of evidence-based psychotherapies to improve their translation into routine clinical care practices.
This protocol article discusses the study methodology and implementation strategies employed in an ongoing, hybrid, type 2 randomized controlled trial with two primary aims: (1) to determine whether a brief, manualized cognitive behavioral therapy administered by Veterans Affairs Primary Care Mental Health Integration program clinicians is effective in treating depression and anxiety in a sample of medically ill (chronic cardiopulmonary diseases) primary care patients and (2) to examine the acceptability, feasibility, and preliminary outcomes of a focused implementation strategy on improving adoption and fidelity of brief cognitive behavioral therapy at two Primary Care-Mental Health Integration clinics. The study uses a hybrid type 2 effectiveness/implementation design to simultaneously test clinical effectiveness and to collect pilot data on a multifaceted implementation strategy that includes an online training program, audit and feedback of session content, and internal and external facilitation. Additionally, the study engages the participation of an advisory council consisting of stakeholders from Primary Care-Mental Health Integration, as well as regional and national mental health leaders within the Veterans Administration. It targets recruitment of 320 participants randomized to brief cognitive behavioral therapy (n = 200) or usual care (n = 120). Both effectiveness and implementation outcomes are being assessed using mixed methods, including quantitative evaluation (e.g., intent-to-treat analyses across multiple time points) and qualitative methods (e.g., focus interviews and surveys from patients and providers). Patient-effectiveness outcomes include measures of depression, anxiety, and physical health functioning using blinded independent evaluators. Implementation outcomes include patient engagement and adherence and clinician brief cognitive behavioral therapy adoption and fidelity.
Hybrid designs are needed to advance clinical effectiveness and implementation knowledge to improve healthcare practices. The current article describes the rationale and challenges associated with the use of a hybrid design for the study of brief cognitive behavioral therapy in primary care. Although trade-offs exist between scientific control and external validity, hybrid designs are part of an emerging approach that has the potential to rapidly advance both science and practice.
Primary care; Hybrid effectiveness-implementation designs; Cognitive behavioral therapy; Mental health; Veterans; Anxiety; Depression
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.
To determine the association of early and long-term reductions in worry symptoms after cognitive behavioral therapy for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) in older adults.
Substudy of larger randomized controlled trial
Family medicine clinic and large multi-specialty health organization in Houston, TX, between March 2004 and August 2006
Patients (N=76) 60 years or older with a principal or coprincipal diagnosis of GAD, excluding those with significant cognitive impairment, bipolar disorder, psychosis or active substance abuse.
Cognitive behavioral therapy, up to 10 sessions over 12 weeks, or enhanced usual care (regular, brief telephone calls and referrals to primary care provider as needed)
Penn State Worry Questionnaire (PSWQ) administered by telephone at baseline, 1 month (mid-treatment), 3 months (post-treatment), and at 3-month intervals through 15 months (1-year follow-up). We used binary logistic regression analysis to determine the association between early (1-month) response and treatment responder status (reduction of more than 8.5 points on the PSWQ) at 3 and 15 months. We also used hierarchical linear modeling to determine the relationship of early response to the trajectory of score change after post-treatment.
Reduction in PSWQ scores after the first month predicted treatment response at post-treatment and follow-up, controlling for treatment arm and baseline PSWQ score. The magnitude of early reduction also predicted the slope of score change from post-treatment through the 15-month assessment.
Early symptom reduction is associated with long-term outcomes after psychotherapy in older adults with GAD.
psychotherapy; generalized anxiety disorder; older adults
Peaceful Mind, a cognitive-behavioral therapy for treating anxiety in persons with dementia, is a promising new treatment currently under investigation. This article reports results of our examination of a modification of the treatment protocol in two cases that included multiple caregivers in treating two persons with dementia.
Two case presentations of the benefits and challenges of including multiple caregivers in treatment are discussed. Treatment outcome data for these cases were collected as part of a larger investigation of Peaceful Mind.
The involvement of multiple collaterals resulted in several benefits, including increased family communication, as well as increased opportunities for the practice of new skills. These cases have also presented unique challenges requiring alterations in therapy structure and attention to issues of family conflict.
Including multiple collaterals in cognitive-behavioral therapy for treating anxiety in persons with dementia is feasible and may be beneficial in maximizing treatment gains and increasing the family’s investment in therapy.
cognitive-behavioral therapy; anxiety; dementia
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.
elderly; depression; anxiety; social support; self-efficacy; physical health
Anxiety has a high prevalence among individuals with dementia, and it has a significant negative impact on their functioning; yet intervention studies are lacking. We developed Peaceful Mind, a cognitive-behavioral intervention for persons with dementia. In this article, we describe the intervention and results of an open trial evaluating the feasibility and utility of the intervention and assessment procedures.
Peaceful Mind is implemented over a period of 3 months in the participant's home with involvement of a caregiver or “collateral.” Dyads are followed for an additional 3 months via telephone. An assortment of simplified skills is offered, including self-awareness, breathing, behavioral activation, calming thoughts, and sleep skills.
Nine participants were enrolled, eight completed the 3-month assessment, and seven completed the 6-month assessment. Overall, participants and collaterals were satisfied with the intervention and reported that they benefited in terms of anxiety, depression, and collateral distress.
A randomized controlled trial would help determine whether this promising new treatment has a statistically significant impact on anxiety in this population.
CBT; caregiver; intervention; home
This article describes the development of Biblio and Telephone Therapy or BTT, a cognitive-behavioral treatment program for late-life anxiety disorders. Although studies have examined bibliotherapy for the treatment of late-life depression, none have studied it as a format for treating late-life anxiety. The application of this treatment to 4 older adults with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and/or Panic Disorder (PD) is described and benefits, advantages and limitations are discussed.
To develop and test a modular psychotherapy protocol in older primary care patients with anxiety disorders.
Randomized, controlled pilot study.
University-based geriatric medicine clinics.
31 elderly primary care patients with Generalized Anxiety Disorder or Anxiety Disorder Not Otherwise Specified.
Modular form of psychotherapy compared to enhanced community treatment.
Self-reported, interviewer-rated, and qualitative assessments of anxiety, worry, depression, and mental health-related quality of life.
Both groups showed substantial improvements in anxiety symptoms, worry, depressive symptoms, and mental health-related quality of life. Most individuals in the enhanced community treatment condition reported receiving medications or some other form of professional treatment for anxiety. Across both conditions, individuals who reported major life events or stressors and those who used involvement in activities as a coping strategy made smaller gains than those who did not.
Results suggest that modular psychotherapy and other treatments can be effective for anxiety in older primary care patients. Results further suggest that life events and coping through increased activity may play a role in the maintenance of anxiety in older adults.
Aged; Elderly; Generalized Anxiety Disorder; Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy
The purposes of this study are to determine the frequency and severity of insomnia symptoms and related complaints experienced by older adults with GAD and compare them with older adults without GAD; compare insomnia symptoms among older adults with GAD with and without comorbid depression; determine if there are age differences in insomnia severity among people with GAD; and determine if there are differences in insomnia severity between older adults with GAD and older adults diagnosed with insomnia.
Participants were recruited through primary care clinics, advertisements, and mass mailings.
110 older adults; 31 with GAD, 25 with GAD and depression, 33 worried well, and 21 with no psychiatric diagnosis.
Psychiatric diagnosis, sleep disturbance, and health.
Participants with GAD with and without comorbid depression reported significantly greater sleep disturbance severity than participants with no psychiatric diagnosis and the worried well. There were no differences in sleep disturbances between older adults with GAD only and older adults with comorbid GAD and depression. The severity of sleep disturbance reported by older participants with GAD was greater than reports by young and middle-aged participants with GAD, and comparable to reports by older adults with a diagnosis of insomnia.
Ninety percent of older adults with GAD report dissatisfaction with sleep and the majority report moderate to severe insomnia. These findings support the assessment of sleep disturbances within the context of late-life GAD.
Anxiety; GAD; insomnia; sleep
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.
late-life anxiety; PSWQ; GAD-Q-IV; PRIME-MD; primary care psychology; sensitivity; specificity
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.
Depression Anxiety Stress Scale; Older Adults; GAD; Anxiety; Assessment
Until recently, little attention has been paid to anxiety symptoms in dementia. However, anxiety is common in this population, and associated with poor outcome and quality of life. The current review examines the existing literature around three major themes: the definition of anxiety in dementia, the properties of available instruments for assessment, and the clinical characteristics of anxiety in this population. Defining anxiety in individuals with dementia is complicated by the overlap between symptoms of anxiety, depression and dementia, and by the influence of the source of information. Several instruments are available to assess anxiety in this population, including general neuropsychiatric instruments and two scales designed specifically for this purpose. The reliability of these instruments is acceptable, but their validity has not been sufficiently examined, and they may discriminate poorly between anxiety and depression. Anxiety may be higher in vascular dementia than in Alzheimer’s Disease, and it decreases in the severe stages of dementia. It is associated with poor quality of life and behavioral disturbances, even after controlling for depression. Little is known, however, about its social and environmental correlates. Limitations of the existing literature and key directions for future research are discussed.
Dementia; Alzheimer’s Disease; Anxiety
Despite the prevalence and impact of Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) in the primary care setting, little is known about its presentation in this setting. The purpose of this study is to examine age and racial differences in the presentation and treatment of GAD in medical patients. Participants were recruited from one family medicine clinic and one internal medicine clinic. The prevalence of GAD was lowest for older adults. Age differences were found in the presentation of GAD, with young adults reporting greater cognitive symptoms of anxiety, negative affect, and depressive symptoms. African-Americans with GAD reported more positive affect and lower rates of treatment. The lower levels of negative affect and depressive symptoms reported among older adults may affect the recognition of GAD by primary care physicians. Further research is needed to better understand the causes of racial differences in treatment.
age differences; anxiety; elderly; Generalized Anxiety Disorder; racial differences
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.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder Severity Scale; generalized anxiety disorder; elderly; primary care; measurement; psychometrics
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.
Generalized anxiety disorder; Primary care; Older patients; Database study; Medical record review