OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to examine medical illness and anxiety, depressive, and somatic symptoms in older medical patients with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).
METHOD: A case-control study was designed and conducted in the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) Geriatrics Clinics. A total of fifty-four older medical patients with GAD and 54 matched controls participated.
MEASUREMENTS: The measurements used for this study include: Brief Symptom Inventory-18, Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview, and the Anxiety Disorders Interview Schedule.
RESULTS: Older medical patients with GAD reported higher levels of somatic symptoms, anxiety, and depression than other older adults, as well as higher rates of diabetes and gastrointestinal conditions. In a multivariate model that included somatic symptoms, medical conditions, and depressive and anxiety symptoms, anxiety symptoms were the only significant predictors of GAD.
CONCLUSION: These results suggest first, that older medical patients with GAD do not primarily express distress as somatic symptoms; second, that anxiety symptoms in geriatric patients should not be discounted as a byproduct of medical illness or depression; and third, that older adults with diabetes and gastrointestinal conditions may benefit from screening for anxiety.
Bibliographical noteThis is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis Group in Aging & Mental Health on 14 July 2010, available online at: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/13607861003713240
- somatosensory disorders
- anxiety disorders
- psychological interview
- health status