College of Psychology: Faculty Articles


Psychometric Properties and Diagnostic Utility of the Beck Anxiety Inventory and the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory with Older Adult Psychiatric Outpatients

Document Type


Publication Date



Beck Anxiety Inventory, State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, Older Psychiatric Outpatients, Clinical Cutoffs

Publication Title

Journal of Anxiety Disorders








In order to assess the psychometric properties and diagnostic utility of the Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI) and the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) with older adults, these measures were administered to 217 older adult outpatients with mixed psychiatric disorders. Both the BAI and STAI scales demonstrated high internal reliabilities. The BAI demonstrated good factorial validity, with a somatic anxiety and a subjective anxiety factor emerging. In contrast, the STAI did not evidence factorial validity, with analyses failing to support presence of state and trait anxiety factors. Both the BAI and Trait Anxiety scale of the STAI demonstrated discriminant validity in separating patients with a current anxiety disorder from patients without such a disorder. However, the State Anxiety scale of the STAI did not discriminate between these groups. When used to predict presence of an anxiety disorder, no single cutting score for either the BAI or STAI proved optimal, due to tradeoffs between sensitivity and specificity. Results suggest that both the subjective subscale and total score on the BAI can be somewhat useful as a quick screening instrument in detecting presence of a current anxiety disorder for older adult psychiatric outpatients, although results were not as strong as previous findings regarding screening tests for depression in the elderly.