The prognostic value of physical health for changes in anxiety symptoms in older people was investigated in a prospective longitudinal study design with data from the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam (LASA). In a sample of 2165 older (> 55 yrs.) respondents anxiety symptoms were measured twice over a three year interval with the anxiety subscale of the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS-A). Utilizing a cut-off value of 4 on the HADS-A, subjects were considered as anxious or as non-anxious. Based on the first assessment two groups were formed: subjects with and subjects without anxiety symptoms. In the non-anxious cohort the effect of physical health on the development of anxiety symptoms was studied; in the anxious cohort the same factors were evaluated on their predictive value for chronicity of anxiety. Indices of physical health included the presence of chronic diseases, functional limitations, and self-perceived health at the first assessment and changes on these variables over time. Results revealed that poor self-perceived health was predictive of incidence (OR=1.5; 95% Cl=1.3-1.8) and chronicity of anxiety (OR=1.2; Cl=1.0-1.5). Regarding chronic diseases, the results showed that suffering from more than one chronic disease predicted becoming anxious and chronicity of anxiety (OR=1.7; Cl=1.2-2.5 and OR=2.2; Cl=1.3-3.6, respectively). Specific chronic diseases were not strongly related to a change in anxiety levels. Thus, somatic diseases not only lead to depression, a finding reported in numerous studies, but also increase the likelihood of anxiety symptoms at a later point in time.
|Translated title of the contribution||Physical health and anxiety of older persons. A longitudinal perspective|
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||Tijdschrift voor Gerontologie en Geriatrie|
|Publication status||Published - 2000|