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.