Characteristics of generalized anxiety disorder in older adults: A descriptive study


Despite the prevalence of Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) in older adults, little is known about psychopathological features of excessive worry in the elderly. This investigation compared 44 GAD patients (x̄ age 67.6), diagnosed using structured interview, with a matched sample free of psychiatric disorders on self-report and clinician measures. Results indicated that GAD in the elderly is associated with elevated anxiety, worry, social fears, and depression. Using self-report measures alone, near-perfect classification of Ss into groups was achieved with four measures (PSWQ, WS-Soc, FQ-Soc, and BDI). Using clinician ratings, near-perfect classification was achieved with Hamilton anxiety ratings. Comparison of GAD patients whose symptoms began in childhood vs middle adulthood revealed few differences on these dimensions. Results are discussed in light of features of GAD in the elderly, highlighting implications for further study.

Publication Title

Behaviour Research and Therapy