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Overlap between anxiety and physical illness in older adults : empirical approach to practical differentiation

Author: Erla Sigridur Gretarsdottir
Publisher: 2004.
Dissertation: Ph. D. University of Louisville 2004
Edition/Format:   Thesis/dissertation : Thesis/dissertation : Manuscript   Archival Material : English
Summary:
Although there currently appears to be an increased interest in exploring the nature of anxiety in old age, there is a noticeable lack of empirical data on practical ways for differentiating anxiety from physical illness. The goal of the present study was to address these gaps in the literature by examining the capacity of somatic and cognitive/affective symptoms of anxiety to distinguish between anxious and  Read more...
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Details

Genre/Form: Academic theses
Material Type: Thesis/dissertation, Manuscript
Document Type: Book, Archival Material
All Authors / Contributors: Erla Sigridur Gretarsdottir
OCLC Number: 70292493
Notes: Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences.
Vita.
"May 2004."
Description: viii, 87 leaves : illustrations ; 29 cm
Responsibility: by Erla Sigridur Gretarsdottir.
Local System Bib Number:
1515690

Abstract:

Although there currently appears to be an increased interest in exploring the nature of anxiety in old age, there is a noticeable lack of empirical data on practical ways for differentiating anxiety from physical illness. The goal of the present study was to address these gaps in the literature by examining the capacity of somatic and cognitive/affective symptoms of anxiety to distinguish between anxious and non-anxious groups of older adults. In addition, the objective was to compare the results to a group of younger individuals. The participants in the study were 313 older (mean age = 74.3) and 306 younger (mean age = 34.1) community dwellers. Anxiety symptoms were measured using the Beck Anxiety Inventory and participants were divided into groups of "high" versus "low" anxiety according to the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory-trait section. Participants also filled out two scales that measured their subjective and objective physical health problems. Analyses revealed that cognitive/affective symptoms of the Beck Anxiety Inventory discriminated between anxious and non-anxious older adults better than the scale of somatic symptoms. Results regarding the age differences furthermore revealed that the somatic symptoms of anxiety discriminated significantly better between anxious and non-anxious younger adults than they discriminated between anxious and non-anxious older adults. The results indicate that somatic symptoms on the Beck Anxiety Inventory are confounded with health problems and are therefore not as reliable indicators of anxiety in old age as cognitive/affective symptoms are. Results are discussed in terms of practical value in the diagnosis of anxiety in old age and implications for the construct of anxiety.
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