College of Psychology: Faculty Articles

Title

Behavioral Assessment and Treatment of Anxiety in the Elderly

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

4-14-1992

Keywords

Nursing Homes, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Psychological Measurement

Publication Title

Clinical Psychology Review

ISSN

0272-7358

Volume

12

Issue/No.

6

Abstract

The assessment of anxiety in the elderly and its behavioral treatment are reviewed in this paper. Despite prevalence rates of anxiety ranging from 10% to 20%, and disproportionately high rates of minor tranquilizer usage in the elderly, the area has been understudied by gerontology researchers. With one exception, the assessment strategies employed with the elderly were not developed for that population. Moreover, existing self-report and interview-administered instruments initially developed for younger adults have not been evaluated psychometrically with older populations in terms of norms, internal consistency, reliability, factorial structure, and validity. In addition, the varying etiological factors accounting for nearly identical symptomatic presentation in the elderly have received insufficient investigatory attention. Similarly, although there are a few clinical and research studies evaluating the behavioral treatment of anxiety in the elderly, the literature is only in its nascent stages in the context of the large array of behavioral techniques applied to older anxious individuals. For both assessment and treatment of geriatric anxiety, initial studies conducted in the last decade offer promise for the future, but there are large gaps in the current literature. Therefore, we have presented a potential blueprint for further investigative endeavors.

DOI

10.1016/0272-7358(92)90135-U