High prevalence of anxiety symptoms in hospitalized geriatric patients

Authors

  • Kari Kvaal,

    Corresponding author
    1. Research Fellow, University of Oslo, Research Group in Geriatrics of the Norwegian National Health Association, Department of Geriatric Medicine, Ullevaal University Hospital, Oslo, Norway
    • Department of Geriatric Medicine, Ullevaal University Hospital, Oslo, N-0407 Norway.
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Jurate Macijauskiene,

    1. Lecturer in Geriatric Medicine, Geriatric Clinic, Kaunas Medical University, Kaunas, Lithuania
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Knut Engedal,

    1. Professor of Psychiatry in Old Age, University of Oslo, Norwegian Centre for Dementia Research, Department of Geriatric Medicine, Ullevaal University Hospital, Oslo, Norway
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Knut Laake

    1. Professor of Geriatric Medicine, University of Oslo, Research Group in Geriatrics of the Norwegian National Health Association, Department of Geriatric Medicine, Ullevaal University Hospital, Oslo, Norway
    Search for more papers by this author

Abstract

Objective

To examine the prevalence of anxiety symptoms in hospitalized geriatric patients.

Design

Controlled cross-sectional study.

Subjects

Ninety-eight geriatric in-patients and 68 healthy home-dwelling controls of similar age recruited from senior citizen centres.

Outcome measure

Anxiety measured as a current emotional state by Spielberger's State–Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI).

Results

The geriatric patients scored significantly higher than the controls. Applying Spielberger's recommended cut-off of 39/40 on the STAI sumscore, 41% of the female and 47% of the male geriatric patients might be suspected of suffering from significant anxiety symptoms. Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease tended to score higher; otherwise no relationship was found between the STAI sumscore and type of chronic somatic disease, nor between the STAI sumscore and number of drugs in regular use.

Conclusions

STAI proved feasible for use in the elderly. The scoring on the STAI is high in geriatric in-patients. Further studies are needed to clarify to what extent this relates to a high prevalence of anxiety disorders. Copyright © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Ancillary